Putin blames Kyiv for escalation in east Ukraine but says diplomaticy needs to intensify

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Feb 20, 2022: According to a report by AFP, Russian President Vladimir Putin blamed Kyiv for military tensions in eastern Ukraine in a call Sunday with French leader Emmanuel Macron, but said diplomatic efforts needed to be stepped up to find a resolution.

The call comes two weeks after Macron left for Moscow to persuade Putin to refrain from sending troops to the Ukrainian border.

A readout of the call issued from the Kremlin said, “The Russian president noted that the cause of the escalation is provocations carried out by the Ukrainian security forces,”

“As a result, civilians… who have to evacuate to Russia to escape the intensifying shelling, suffer,” it added.

The sides discussed the supply of weapons and ammunition by NATO countries to Ukraine, which the Kremlin said was pushing Kyiv towards a “military solution” against separatists in the country’s east.

The statement said “the presidents believe it is important to intensify efforts to find solutions through diplomatic means”.

It said the leaders agreed that these efforts should be made through the foreign ministers and representatives of France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine, which form the Normandy Negotiating Group. The statement said Putin had told Macron that the West would respond to Moscow’s major demands made last December to limit the West’s role in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.

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