France's Macron hits out at Russian media after Putin talks

For instance, The Associated Press reports a previous visit from Putin, scheduled for last October, was even canceled after then-President Francois Hollande said Russian Federation could face war crimes for its role in supporting Assad.

France's President Emmanuel Macron and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Monday held their first meeting since the French leader came to office, with differences on Ukraine and Syria in full view.

By welcoming his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin at Versailles, French President Emmanuel Macron has somehow extended his hand to Russia.

Ahead of Putin's visit, the 39-year-old centrist told a French weekly that he was not "bothered" by leaders who "think in terms of power dynamics".

On the conflict in Syria, Mr Macron warned: "A very clear red line exists on our side: the use of chemical weapons by whomever". Western sanctions, imposed after Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014, have been ratcheted up since pro-Russian rebels carved out a breakaway region in eastern Ukraine.

"It's indispensable to talk to Russian Federation because there are a number of global subjects that will not be resolved without a tough dialogue with them", Macron told reporters at the end of the G7 summit on Saturday, where the Western leaders agreed to consider new measures against Moscow if the situation in Ukraine did not improve.

Macron decisively beat Le Pen, an open Putin admirer in a fraught presidential election campaign, and afterwards the Russian president said in a congratulatory message that he wanted to put mistrust aside and work with him.

THE FACTS: Trump may never have explicitly endorsed any candidate in France's election, but he had only nice things to say about one candidate: Le Pen.

The newly elected Macron hosted Putin at the sumptuous 17th century palace of Versailles outside Paris for his first meeting with the Kremlin leader which he had earlier said would be marked by some straight talking.

According to two polls, Macron's new centrist party, En Marche! is in first place, followed by the center-right Republicans and the far-right National Front of Marine Le Pen in a close race for second and third. Reporters from Russian Federation today and Sputnik we're not journalists but propagandists spreading total lies about me, no more, no less.

President Donald Trump, who has claimed to have wide support among LGBTQ communities, has yet to join the world leaders calling on Putin to address the reports of violence against gay and bisexual men in Chechnya.

Speaking with remarkable frankness, Mr Macron tore into the state-funded Russian media outlets Sputnik and Russia Today for spreading what he said were "serious untruths" during the French election.

Ostensibly, the reason for Putin's visit was for him to tour an exhibition in Versailles about the 300th anniversary of Russian Czar Peter the Great's trip to Paris.

"I will give no ground at all to that".

Paris-Moscow relations hit a particularly rocky patch in October, when Putin pulled out of a visit in which he was meant to attend the opening ceremony of a new, golden-dome-topped Orthodox church. On the eve of the vote, Macron's campaign suffered a massive cyberattack that it compared with the hacking of candidate Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign previous year.

Mr Putin declined to comment on the media ban, but brushed off the hacking allegations, saying: "Actions can not be based on hunches, hunches that are moreover unconfirmed".

Russian meddling became a concern in France after allegations that Russia sought to interfere in the USA presidential contest that elected Donald Trump and after a document leak hit Macron's campaign in the final hours of the French race.

  • Leroy Wright