French President believes ‘worst is to come’ after call with Putin

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Emmanuel Macron held talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin over the phone on Thursday in a bid to ease tensions between Russia and Ukraine.

According to a French official, the pair spoke for 90 minutes, with Putin telling Macron that the conflict was “going according to plan.” A source present described the tone of the phone call as “pessimistic” and “not-so-friendly.”

As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine enters its second week, Kherson mayor Ihor Kolykhaev told NBC News Thursday that the city had been captured by Russian forces.

After more than a full day of continuous shelling, hundreds are feared dead in the port of Mariupol, the deputy mayor said.

Explosions have been reported in the capital Kyiv and heavy shelling in the country’s second city, Kharkiv.

The second round of negotiations has begun in Belarus. Putin told Macron that the “worst is to come” as Kyiv refuses Russia’s conditions. Kherson mayor says Russian troops have “captured the city.” According to a British military intelligence assessment, Kharkiv, Chernihiv and Mariupol remain in Ukrainian hands. According to the UN refugee agency, one million people have fled Ukraine since the Russian invasion.

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