Russia's Putin tells Germany's Scholz that Western line on Ukraine is 'destructive' - Kremlin

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a joint news conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Moscow, Russia February 15, 2022. Sputnik/Sergey Guneev/Kremlin via REUTERS

Dec 2 (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin told German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in a phone call on Friday that the German and Western line on Ukraine was "destructive" and urged Berlin to rethink its approach, the Kremlin said.

Its readout of the call served to highlight the gulf between Russia and Western governments over Ukraine, even though Moscow and Washington have both said in the past 24 hours that they are open in principle to talks.

"Attention was drawn to the destructive line of Western states, including Germany, which are pumping the Kyiv regime with weapons and training the Ukrainian military," the Kremlin said.

"All this, as well as comprehensive political and financial support for Ukraine, leads to the fact that Kyiv completely rejects the idea of ​​any negotiations."

Kyiv says peace talks are possible only if Russia stops attacking Ukrainian territory and withdraws its troops from Ukrainian soil.

After Putin proclaimed the annexation of Ukrainian territory in September, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said talks would not be possible as long as Putin remains in power, although Ukraine has not emphasised that condition in recent weeks.

Putin "called on the German side to reconsider its approaches in the context of the Ukrainian events", the Kremlin added.

It said Putin defended Russia's missile strikes on targets in Ukraine as a forced response to Ukrainian attacks on Russian infrastructure, including a key bridge between Russia and Crimea.

He also said Russia should be allowed to participate in investigations into what it called the "terrorist" attacks on the Nord Stream gas pipelines under the Baltic Sea.

The conversation took place a day after U.S. President Joe Biden met France's Emmanuel Macron in the White House, and Biden said he was willing to talk to Putin if the Kremlin chief demonstrated he was interested in ending the war.

The Kremlin said earlier on Friday that it wanted a diplomatic solution and Putin had always been open to talks, but this was complicated by Washington's refusal to recognise the Russian annexation of Ukrainian territories.

Reporting by Reuters; writing by Mark Trevelyan; editing by Nick Macfie

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