Macron Invites Putin to France, Challenges Him on Syria and 'Fake News'

The use of chemical weapons in Syria is a red line for France and would result in reprisals, Emmanuel Macron said on Monday during his first meeting as president of France with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. The leaders of the two countries discussed bilateral issues, as well as global problems - the crises in Syria and Ukraine, the state of affairs in Libya and on the Korean Peninsula, as well as relations between the Russian Federation and the European Union.

"As for the candidates, it is still too early to talk about it", Putin said in an interview with Le Figaro during his visit to Paris on May 29.

Emerging from the two-hour meeting, Macron and Putin vowed to improve the strained relations between their countries, while admitting to disagreements during talks described by Macron as "extremely frank".

Putin didn't respond directly to all of Macron's accusations, but he claimed Russian Federation did not interfere in the French presidential election.

"Our absolute priority is the fight against terrorism and the eradication of terrorist groups and Daesh in particular", said Macron using an alternate name for the so-called Islamic State (IS), which has claimed responsibility for multiple terrorist attacks in France.

Mr Putin did not mention gay people during the conference with Mr Macron.

Russia Today's editor-in-chief, Margarita Simonyan, responded by saying, "It is disappointing that what started as a rather productive conversation between the leaders of the two countries turned into another opportunity for President Macron to levy baseless accusations against RT".

The venue for the exhibit and Putin's visit was the sumptuous Palace of Versailles, west of Paris.

During the campaign, Macron backed expanded sanctions if there were no progress with Moscow implementing a peace accord for eastern Ukraine, where Kiev's forces have been battling pro-Russian separatists.

Macron vowed to be "constantly vigilant on these issues".

At least 26 are said to have died.

Mr Putin, seemingly unfazed during the conference in Versailles, later vehemently denied any suggestion that Russian Federation sought to influence the election speaking to reporters in Paris.

"They didn't act like media, like journalists". "When press organs sow defamatory untruths, they are no longer journalists, " he said.

There were no statements from Russia Today or Sputnik immediately available. In response, Putin appeared to deny that Russian hackers targeted the French election ("that would have been impossible"), and he insisted that there was "nothing to discuss" regarding other foreign elections and hacking. The French leader said Putin had agreed to "look into the activities of local authorities".

In fact, Macron was inspired by Putin by blowing hot and cold, sometimes by inviting "to work together", sometimes by denouncing the "interference" of two Kremlin-funded media. The site was sold to Russian Federation under former President Nicolas Sarkozy amid criticism from rights groups about France's outreach to Putin.

"It is very important that we begin to dissipate the mistrust that has built up in recent years".

Coming so soon after an election in which the Kremlin was widely seen as backing Macron's far-right rival Marine Le Pen - with Putin hosting her during a surprise visit to Moscow - the encounter in Versailles will have an added personal edge.

Putin isn't the first world leader whom Macron, 39, put the squeeze on in the past week.

Mr Orlov, speaking on Europe 1 radio, said he believed that Mr Macron was "much more flexible" on the Syrian question, though he did not say why he thought this.

  • Leroy Wright