Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed the situation in Ukraine and the evacuation of civilians from the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Friday, the Kremlin has said.
Putin told Scholz that civilians have been evacuated from the besieged Azovstal plant, according to a readout of the call issued by Moscow.
“It was also mentioned that, with the participation of representatives of the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross, civilians were evacuated, who were held by the Ukrainian security forces at the Mariupol Azovstal plant,” the statement said. Ukraine rejects Russia's claim that civilians were held in the besieged plant, and had repeatedly called for the evacuation of the hundreds trapped there while sheltering from the Russian assault.
Putin also shared his view of the negotiations between Russia and Ukraine, suggesting they were blocked by Kyiv.
“A fundamental assessment of the state of affairs in the Russian-Ukrainian negotiations, which are essentially blocked by Kyiv, was given,” the readout went on to say.
Putin and Scholz agreed to continue their contacts through various channels, according to the Kremlin.