FRANKFURT (Reuters) – German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Saturday he planned to speak soon by telephone with Russian President Vladimir Putin to urge him to withdraw Russian troops from Ukraine.
Addressing a German Protestant Church convention in Nuremberg, Scholz said he had spoken to Putin by phone in the past.
“I plan to do it again soon. It is not reasonable to force Ukraine to approve and accept the raid that Putin carried out and that parts of Ukraine become Russian like that,” he said. , adding that he would work to ensure that NATO did not get drawn into the war.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told TASS news agency that no talks with Scholz were currently on Putin’s schedule.
Both Moscow and Kyiv reported heavy fighting in Ukraine on Friday, but it remains unclear whether the long-awaited large-scale Ukrainian counterattack was underway.
The counter-offensive aimed at penetrating Russian defenses and driving out occupying forces is ultimately expected to involve thousands of Ukrainian troops trained and equipped by Western countries, including Germany.
Russia fired missiles and drones at targets across Ukraine in the early hours of Saturday, killing three civilians in the Black Sea city of Odessa and hitting a military airfield in the central Poltava region, reports said. Kyiv authorities.
(Reporting by Andreas Rinke; Writing by Ludwig Burger; Editing by Helen Popper and Mike Harrison)