Putin, Merkel, Macron hold video-conference on int’l affairs

Moscow, March 31 (IANS) Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron held a video-conference on Tuesday to discuss cooperation and international affairs, the Kremlin said in a statement.
The leaders paid particular attention to joining efforts in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, including the possibility of registering, using and producing the Russian vaccine Sputnik V in European Union (EU) countries, Xinhua news agency reported.
As for the situation in Ukraine, Putin urged Kiev to fulfill agreements on establishing direct dialogue with Donbass and settling the legal issues regarding the region’s special status.
The Russian side voiced “serious concerns” over the escalation of the armed confrontation between the Donbass insurgents and the Ukrainian government forces, which was “provoked” by Kiev.
Discussing the situation in Belarus, Putin stressed the inadmissibility of external interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign state.
Putin reiterated Russia’s readiness to restore “normal, depoliticized” interactions with the EU, if the bloc shows reciprocal interest.
According to the Kremlin, the three leaders expressed support for preserving and implementing the Iran nuclear deal and further coordinating steps in this direction.
Putin explained to Merkel and Macron the case of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.
They also discussed the situations in Syria and Libya.

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