Putin: Russian meddling 'fiction' invented by Democrats

"Assad didn't use the weapons", the Russian leader said.

The presidents of France and Russian Federation met at Versailles yesterday (29 May) in an attempt to inject some life into bilateral relations.

The newly elected French leader called for a stronger partnership with Russian Federation on Syria, one of the sticking points in relations between the West and Moscow which backs the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

"Our absolute priority is the fight against terrorism and the eradication of terrorist groups and Daesh in particular", he said, using an alternate name for the Islamic State group that has claimed several deadly attacks in France.

Macron said he favoured a democratic transition in Syria that would "preserve the Syrian state".

Talk about making a statement.

At 120 meters long by 13 meters wide (394 feet long by 43 feet wide), the Gallery of Great Battles is Versailles' largest room.

Yesterday's Versailles meeting added momentum to the argument that Donald Trump's election and effect on the geopolitical landscape means that a de facto rapprochement between Europe and Russian Federation is on the cards. "Our relations must be normalized". In the Le Figaro interview, Putin said the accusations of meddling leveled at Russian Federation have destabilized worldwide affairs. Mr Macron said he expected some tough words.

Macron greeted Putin with a firm handshake on a red carpet leading into the Palace of Versailles before both men walked inside.

The Russian strongman, who hosted Macron's far-right rival Marine Le Pen for talks during the election race, also shrugged off allegations that Russian hackers infiltrated Macron's campaign.

Putin and Macron will hold a joint news conference after their talks.

The activists want newly-elected French President Emmanuel Macron to discuss the issue with Putin at their Versailles palace meeting. Earlier Monday, human rights activists protesting near the Eiffel Tower displayed a banner that said, "Stop homophobia in Chechnya".

Macron went on to warn that the use of chemical weapons by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who is backed by Putin, is a "red line" that would be met by "reprisals and immediate retaliation on the part of France".

The leader of Russia's Chechnya has invited the French president and the German chancellor to visit his region and check for themselves the reports about gay people being killed and tortured there. "Russia Today and Sputnik. behaved as organs of influence, of propaganda, of lying propaganda".

Monday's visit came seven months after the Russian leader cancelled a trip to Paris amid a row over Syria with Macron's predecessor Francois Hollande, who had said Russia's bombing of Aleppo could amount to war crimes.

  • Leroy Wright