Moscow still says it is open to dialogue

Russian President Vladimir Putin

 Telephone conversation during the day, while in Mariupol they try to free civilians from the Azvostal steelworks through humanitarian corridors. This is the first exchange between the two after the end of March and the Bucha events and the first since Macron was re-elected. The phone call lasted more than two hours. It has been learned from sources on the Elysée. The last phone call between the two leaders came on March 29, while Macron spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky last Saturday and promised more help.

 This is not the first time the two leaders have heard. A few months ago, the French president, who also acts as the rotating president of the European semester, went to Moscow before the start of the conflict to avoid war. Putin told Macron about the details of the "special operations" and evacuation of civilians from Azovstal but said "EU countries ignore the war crimes of the Ukrainian troops and their bombing of the towns and villages of Donbass," said Putin from TASS who today announced a decree signed by the head of the Kremlin with Russia's new measures in response to sanctions.

 "The West can help stop these atrocities by exerting sufficient influence over the authorities in Kiev, as well as by stopping the supply of weapons to Ukraine," said the president, noting that Kiev was lacking in "serious work" on peace talks. . Macron, the Kremlin note read, expressed concern about the global food insecurity created by the war and Putin replied that sanctions were the first along the way. 

Macron has just won re-election as French president for a second term. His efforts to maintain open communication with the Russian president - who has not spoken since the Bucha massacre - have been the subject of criticism from some, both at home and abroad, including the Polish prime minister. 

"It's my job to talk to him, we need him. I'm not going to stop doing it," tenant Elysée told a French newspaper in April. The head of the Elysée personally received former president Nicolas Sarkozy at the Elysée, hours before the telephone conversation with Putin. This was reported by the French newspaper Le Figaro. 

Sarkozy reportedly arrived at the Elysée this morning, with parties who have so far refrained from revealing the contents of the talks. The meeting comes days before the announcement of the nominations for French parliamentary elections, due to be held in June.

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