After February 24, 2022, when Vladimir Putin announced Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, European leaders, including German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron, held a series of phone conversations with their Russian counterpart.
Journalist Stefan Lambie, according to Bild, gained access to a transcript of a conversation between Scholz and Macron, in which they discussed dialogue with Putin on the ninth day of the war.
During a conversation with his French counterpart, the German chancellor noted that "the situation is not improving." Scholz emphasized that Putin "did not complain about Western sanctions at all during the conversation, he did not even mention them." Macron confirmed that there was also no talk of sanctions in their dialog with the Russian leader.
During the conversation, Putin told Scholz "about demilitarization and denazification," drawing attention to these aspects from the very beginning of the invasion.
"He asked me to recognize Crimea as part of Russia. And the independence of these republics [the self-proclaimed LPR and DPR]. This is nothing new, frankly speaking," the German chancellor emphasized.
Initially, Putin was ready for talks, but without the participation of Volodymyr Zelenskyy and without a ceasefire. According to Scholz, Putin insisted that he was ready to discuss a peace plan only with him and Macron.
"Later, Putin said that the Ukrainian delegation had gone to Poland because they wanted to talk to the US president to get guidance from him," Scholz said of the conversation with Putin.