Macron to team up with Erdogan in new plan to evacuate besieged Mariupol from Putin | World | News

French President Macron is hoping to have more talks with Putin in the coming hours about the situation in Ukraine and any plans to help people leave Mariupol, which has been among the worst hit by the Russian bombardment.

Mariupol city had over 400,000 residents before the war. 

After relentless shelling by Russian forces, tens of thousands of people have been trapped with little access to food, power or heat, while the besieged city around them crumbles under Russian bombardment.

On Friday, Moscow indicated it would scale back its ambitions in Ukraine to focus on territory claimed by Russian-backed separatists, while Ukrainians went on the offensive to recapture towns outside Kyiv, the country’s capital. 

On Friday, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky announced that he had been speaking with the Turkish president who continues to try mediate between the two countries. 

Zelensky tweeted: “Talked to @RTErdogan about the results of the #NATO summit. Exchanged assessments of the current diplomatic efforts. Discussed the threat of the food crisis and ways to prevent it. I am grateful to Turkey for its support.”

It is believed President Macron plans to talk to the Russian leader about plans to get Ukrainian people living in Mariupol out of the country and to safety. 

READ MORE: Zelensky victory nears as US claims Kherson retaken from Putin

President Erdoğan said on Friday that Ukraine and Russia seem to have reached “an understanding” on four out of six topics of disagreement discussed during negotiations. 

Speaking to reporters on his way back from a NATO summit in Brussels, Erdoğan also said he will speak with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky and with Russian President Vladimir Putin over the weekend. 

He said: “There are six topics of negotiation between Russia and Ukraine, there seems to be an understanding between them about four topics.

“At first, Ukraine was hung up on this issue, but later on, Zelensky began to express that he could withdraw from NATO membership. Another issue is the acceptance of Russian as an official language. Zelensky also admitted this. Russian is a language spoken almost everywhere in Ukraine. There is no problem at this point either”. 

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Erdoğan also mentioned that Zelensky’s comments about a potential referendum on compromises with Russia was “smart leadership.”

On Monday, Zelensky said any constitutional changes that relate to security guarantees in the country would need to be decided through a referendum and not by him alone. 

About his upcoming call with Putin, Erdoğan said: “We should discuss and evaluate” NATO meetings. “We have to look for a way to smooth this business by saying ‘make an honorable exit to this,'”. 

Earlier this month, President Macron said he will continue talks with the Russian President, despite having failed so far to influence the Russian president’s escalating attack on Ukraine.

The two leaders have spoken several times since Russia first invaded Ukraine last month. 

The French leader said the reason for keeping an open dialogue with Putin is to discuss things like humanitarian corridors, the protection of nuclear plants and any possible way out of the conflict.


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