Olaf Scholz spoke with Vladimir Putin on the phone to discuss stalled Ukraine peace talks, while EU pledges €500 million in additional military aid

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke on the phone on Friday to discuss stalled Ukraine peace talks, both governments confirmed. Putin reportedly told the German leader that peace talks on the conflict had been “essentially blocked” by the Ukrainian government, the Kremlin said in a statement. Putin also told Scholz Moscow was fighting “Nazi ideology” in Ukraine. In a Tweet, Scholz confirmed the call took place, saying he’d urged Putin for a rapid ceasefire in Ukraine. He also emphasized that the Russian leader’s claims that Nazis are in charge of the country is “wrong.” “I also informed him of Russia’s responsibility for the global food supply situation,” the German chancellor added. A German government statement said the call lasted 75 minutes. In addition to quickly implementing a ceasefire, Scholz called on Putin to quickly “improve the humanitarian situation on the ground and [make] progress in the search for a diplomatic solution to the conflict.”

The European Union’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, announced that the bloc was set to increase military aid to Ukraine with a further €500 million ($520 million). Borrell made the announcement on the sidelines of a G7 foreign ministers meeting in Germany. “A new impetus for military support. [It will be] more pressure on Russia with economic sanctions and continuing the international isolation of Russia and countering misinformation,” he said. The latest aid package would increase the EU’s funds for Ukraine’s military support to a total of €2 billion, Borrell said. The EU’s top diplomat also said optimistic that an EU embargo on Russian oil imports could also be agreed in the coming days. “I am sure we will have an agreement. We need it and we will have it. Because we have to get rid of the oil dependency from Russia,” he said. “If there is no agreement at the level of ambassadors, then on Monday the ministers when they gather they have to provide the political impetus.”