Germany's Scholz, Russia's Putin discuss Ukraine in phone call

German Chancellor Scholz and European Council President Michel news conference in Berlin

BERLIN (Reuters) - German Chancellor Olaf Scholz urged Russian President Vladimir Putin in a phone call on Tuesday to find a diplomatic solution for the conflict in Ukraine based on a ceasefire and the complete withdrawal of Russian troops as soon as possible, a German government spokesperson said.

In the 90-minute call, Scholz emphasized the need to ensure the safety of the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine and appealed to Putin to continue to fully implement the United Nations-backed grain agreement, spokesperson Steffen Hebestreit added.

"The Federal Chancellor emphasized that any further Russian annexation steps would not go unanswered and would not be recognized under any circumstances," Hebestreit said in the statement, adding that Scholz and Putin agreed to remain in contact.

(Reporting by Riham Alkousaa, Editing by Victoria Waldersee)