Vladimir Putin calls allegations of Russian interference in US election "fiction"

VERSAILLES, France (AP) - Flexing his diplomatic muscles, French President Emmanuel Macron said he had "extremely frank" and "direct" talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday and launched an extraordinary attack on two state-funded Russian media outlets he accused of spreading "lying propaganda" during France's presidential campaign.

But the grand reception at France's most lauded royal palace seemed to soften the blows from Macron's rhetoric-much of the Russian coverage dwelled on the fact Putin is the first foreign leader that Macron has hosted in France. Under Putin, a former KGB officer with a strongman image, Russian Federation had supported far-right leader Marine Le Pen in France's presidential election this year.

Russian Federation has not interfered in elections in any country, there is no subject for discussion on this issue, Putin said at a news conference after talks in reply to reporters' question.

Mr Putin described Ms Le Pen as a politician who wants to develop friendly ties with Russian Federation and said it would have been odd to rebuff her overtures.

The topic then shifted to Syria and the chemical bombing allegedly perpetrated by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The 39-year-old French leader and Putin exchanged a cordial, businesslike handshake and smiles when the latter stepped from his limousine, with Macron appearing to say "welcome" to him in French.

"What unites us allows us to hope that the possibility exists to improve our ties", he later added.

Past indications have suggested that Putin wanted Macron's far-right opponent, Marine Le Pen, to become the next President of France.

Last week, Macron met North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies and members of the G7.

Russian officials must be laughing at the USA & how a lame excuse for why the Dems lost the election has taken over the Fake News.

The Russian leader added that he agrees with Trump that anyone could have been behind the hacking of the Democrats' emails.

Putin, according to the AP, added that influencing a USA election would not benefit his country because bureaucracy impedes policy change. According to Putin, the two leaders had agreed that the fight against terrorism was a top priority.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has visited a newly built Russian Orthodox Church near the Seine River in Paris.

"The issue has not been raised". "Presidents come and go, but policies don't change". A Russian journalist asked why two of her colleagues had been thrown out of Macron's campaign headquarters. "But I repeat that we have no relation to the majority of the allegations". "Russia Today and Sputnik were organs of influence during this campaign, which, on several occasions produced untruths about me and my campaign", Mr Macron said.

Both media outlets are controlled by the Russian government.

"This is not just a monument of art", Russia's state-run Perviy Kanal reported, noting Versailles was the venue for historic events such as the declaration of the end of World War I and Britain's concession of USA independence.

  • Carolyn Briggs