Putin is scheduled to meet Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko on Tuesday to discuss the situation in Ukraine and Western sanctions, news agencies in Russia and Belarus reported. Belarus is a key staging area for Russian forces.
The United States has sought to pressure Putin to withdraw his forces by banning Russian oil and gas and encouraging allies to follow suit.
But world powers including China and India have refrained from sanctioning Russia. Lured by steep oil discounts, India has purchased more Russian crude since the start of the Feb. 24 invasion than it did for the whole of last year, data compiled by Reuters shows.
In a video call, U.S. President Joe Biden told Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi “very clearly that it is not in their interest” to increase reliance on Russian energy, White House spokesperson Jen Psaki said.
During a brief portion of the call open to reporters, Modi said he had suggested in recent talks with Russia that Putin and Zelensky hold direct negotiations.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow would not pause the fighting for any new round of peace talks, which last convened on April 1.
Britain's defence ministry said Russian shelling continued in Donbas but Ukrainian forces had beaten back several assaults and destroyed Russian tanks, vehicles and artillery equipment.
The governor of another eastern region, Luhansk, told Ukrainian television that shelling was increasing day by day and urged all civilians to evacuate.
France declared six Russian agents posing as diplomats as persona non grata after an investigation by the domestic intelligence services concluded they were working against French national interests.