During a phone discussion with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin accused Kiev of prolonging the negotiation process.

Putin explained his observations of the ongoing video conversations between Russian and Ukrainian representatives, according to a Kremlin summary.

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“It was noted that the Kyiv regime is trying in every possible way to delay the negotiation process, putting forward more and more unrealistic proposals. Nevertheless, the Russian side is ready to continue the search for solutions in line with its well-known principled approaches,” the readout said.

The Russian President said that the Russian Armed Forces were doing all possible to spare civilian lives, including creating safe corridors for the evacuation of citizens from combat-zone cities.

According to the Kremlin, the call was initiated by the German side.

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According to a tweet issued by Scholz’s spokesperson Steffen Hebestreit on Friday, during their hour-long chat, Scholz reiterated his plea for a “ceasefire as quickly as possible,” as well as a “improved humanitarian situation and progress in the search of a diplomatic solution.”

Scholz and Putin have spoken three times since Russia’s invasion in Ukraine. On March 12, he had a conversation with French President Emmanuel Macron.

On a conference call with journalists, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said the two leaders had a “difficult but business-like” discussion. “The conversation, of course, can hardly be called friendly. This was a tough conversation,” he stated.

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“But nevertheless, there is a need for such contacts, exchange of information, discussion of sensitive topics related to the special operation.”

Next week, Antony Blinken will meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, as the US Secretary of State warned that the Ukraine crisis was a “moment of peril for the lives and safety of millions of people.”

On Thursday night, the US State Department announced that Blinken had accepted an invitation to meet with Lavrov as long as Ukraine was not invaded. The decision gives hope that diplomatic channels would remain open even as the US warns of an impending assault.