Putin meets with Turkish, French and Israeli leaders

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Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke by telephone on Sunday with the leaders of Turkey, France and Israel.

The Russian presidential office said Putin told Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine was “going according to plan”.

The office says Putin criticized Ukraine for using citizens and foreigners as “human shields”.

Putin reportedly stressed that the special operation can only be suspended if Ukraine “ceases hostilities” and meets Russia’s demands.

He demanded what he calls the demilitarization and neutralization of Ukraine.

The Russian president also spoke on Sunday with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron. The two leaders also spoke last Thursday.

France’s presidential office said Macron had expressed deep concern about nuclear security risks, in light of Russian forces taking control of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southeastern Ukraine.

Putin’s office says it responded that the plant’s security “is well protected.” He says he told Macron: “All this is done to exclude any provocation by Ukrainian neo-Nazis or terrorists in order to avoid catastrophic consequences.”

Putin reportedly says the International Atomic Energy Agency’s proposal to hold a trilateral meeting between Russia, Ukraine and the IAEA to discuss security of nuclear facilities in Ukraine ‘could be a good idea’ .

But Putin reportedly indicated that the meeting should be held by videoconference or in a third country, rather than in Ukraine.

He also discussed the situation in Ukraine by telephone with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, a day after their meeting in Moscow.

The leaders of Turkey, France, Israel and other countries are apparently trying to mediate between Russia and Ukraine. But there is still no indication that Putin will soften his stance on Ukraine.

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