Germany's Scholz says Putin still doesn't see invading Ukraine as 'mistake'

Germany's Chancellor urged Russian President Vladimir Putin (above) to seek a diplomatic solution to the war in Ukraine. PHOTO: REUTERS

BERLIN - Vladimir Putin still believes he was right to launch an invasion of Ukraine, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Wednesday after a 90-minute-long telephone call with the Russian president.

"Sadly, I cannot tell you that the impression has grown that it was a mistake to begin this war," Scholz told journalists, a day after his exchange with Putin.

"And there was no indication that new attitudes are emerging," the German leader added at a joint press conference with his Georgian counterpart, Irakli Garibashvili.

In the call on Tuesday with Putin, Scholz urged the Russian leader to seek a diplomatic solution "based on a ceasefire, a complete withdrawal of Russian forces and respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Ukraine".

Separately, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the chances for peace were minimal, after his own call with Putin.

“I have the feeling we are still far away from peace. I would be lying if I would say it could happen soon,” Guterres told a press conference.

“I have no illusion; at the present moment, the chances of a peace deal are minimal,” he added, noting that even a ceasefire is “not in sight.”

The exit of Russian troops from Ukraine was the only way for "peace to have a chance in the region", Scholz said on Wednesday.

While Putin's positions did not appear to have shifted, the German chancellor said it was necessary to remain in conversation with the Russian leader.

"It is right to speak with each other and to say what there is to say on this subject," Scholz said. AFP

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (above) says it is necessary to remain in conversation with the Russian leader. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

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