The leaders of France and Germany have urged Russia’s Vladimir Putin to hold “direct and serious negotiations” with Ukraine’s president, the German chancellor’s office said.Emmanuel Macron and Olaf Scholz spoke to Mr Putin by phone for 80 minutes.
The pair “insisted on an immediate ceasefire and a withdrawal of Russian troops”, the chancellor’s office said.Russia’s leader said Moscow was open to resuming dialogue with Kyiv, according to the Kremlin.
It did not mention the possibility of direct talks between Mr Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Zelensky.
The Ukrainian president earlier said he was not “eager” for talks, but added they would likely be necessary to end the conflict.
Russian and Ukrainian delegations have held multiple rounds of talks remotely and in person since Russia invaded on 24 February, but efforts have stalled of late.France and Germany also urged Mr Putin to release 2,500 Ukrainian fighters taken as prisoners-of-war at the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol.