Scholz and Putin discuss "diplomatic" ways to end Ukraine war
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin on the phone on Wednesday evening to discuss diplomatic ways to settle the war in Ukraine and open up humanitarian corridors to evacuate civilians.
Putin and Scholz discuss political and diplomatic efforts in Ukraine
According to a statement from the Kremlin, “In the context of the developing situation around a special military operation to protect Donbas [eastern Ukraine], various political and diplomatic efforts have been discussed, in particular a third round of talks between a Russian delegation and representatives of the Kyiv authorities.”
The statement went on to say that the two leaders had talked over “the humanitarian aspects of the situation”, with Putin telling Scholz about measures being taken to evacuate civilians, measures which he said were being scuppered by “attempts of fighters of nationalist groupings.”
At the end of the call, both leaders agreed to continue contact on the issue.
Ukraine to open more humanitarian corridors for evacuations
According to statements from Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister, Iryna Vereshchuk, Ukraine and Russia agreed on Wednesday to open seven so-called “humanitarian corridors” - ceasefire zones to allow the evacuation of civilians - around major conflict zones.
On Wednesday, a 12-hour ceasefire allowed some 35.000 civilians to be evacuated from major cities, but Ukraine is accusing Russia of repeatedly attacking designated safe routes. The Kremlin also stands accused of committing a “war crime” in bombing a children’s hospital in Mariupol, an accusation that it has dismissed as “fake news”. The Red Cross has described the situation in the besieged city as “apocalyptic” after residents have been left for more than a week without water, power, phone signal or heating.
Fears also mounted after the International Atomic Energy Agency announced that it was no longer receiving updates from either Zaporizhzhia or Chernobyl nuclear power plants. The latter experienced a power cut on Wednesday morning, according to Ukraine’s nuclear regulator, but the UN’s atomic watchdog has said that there is “no critical impact on safety”.
Image: Alexandros Michailidis / Shutterstock.com