nsucurrent.com March 20, 2018

Macron hits out at Russian media, Putin denies hacking

31 May 2017, 06:29 | Colleen Roy

Macron hits out at Russian media, Putin denies hacking

Putin: Russian meddling

French President Emmanuel Macron hosted Russia's Vladimir Putin at the sumptuous royal palace in Versailles on Monday to talk about cooperating on fighting terror.

The meeting was a chance for Macron to further establish himself on the global scene after his debut last week at the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation meeting in Brussels and the Group of Seven summit in Sicily.

He said he would make "not a single concession" to Russian Federation on the long-running conflict in Ukraine, with he and his G7 counterparts saying they were prepared to strengthen sanctions against Moscow.

"That doesn't mean we tried to influence the results of elections; indeed it's nearly impossible", he said. In the Le Figaro interview, Putin said the accusations of meddling leveled at Russian Federation have destabilized worldwide affairs.

Mr Putin's objective of the meeting was to underscore his demands for Europe to lift sanctions against Russian Federation and to re-establish a warm relationship Russian Federation previously had with France.

Moscow strongly denied all allegations of meddling in the French election that Macron won May 7. Putin agreed to more cooperation between the two countries.

He says they're "totally distinct from diplomatic contacts" that Macron, the president, now has.

"We disagree on a number of things but at least we discussed them", Macron said.

On the conflict in Syria, Mr Macron warned: "A very clear red line exists on our side: the use of chemical weapons by whomever".

"I confirm what I said earlier on this issue, if necessary, the sanctions may be strengthened but only in case of escalation of the conflict in Ukraine".

The Kremlin appeared to favour Macron's far-right opponent Marine Le Pen for the presidency during the campaign - a view reinforced when Putin granted her an audience a month before the election's first round.

After Moscow lost its bets in the French vote, the visit offers the Russian leader a chance to turn the page and try to establish ties with Macron as the Kremlin has struggled to mend a bitter rift in relations with the West. His comments underscored the clear differences between the two men on multiple issues and fulfilled the French president's campaign promises to pull no punches with Russian Federation when needed.

Mr. Putin emphasised the need for Russian Federation and France to develop closer cooperation and strongly rejected accusations of meddling in the recent French presidential vote. Mr Macron said he is looking toward strengthening France's partnership with Russian Federation against the fight with so called Islamic State (ISIS) and wanted a democratic transition.

The regime of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad has repeatedly used chemical weapons with impunity.

France helped spearhead the EU's economic sanctions on Russia over the seizure of Crimea and Russian backing for insurgents in the east of the former Soviet republic.

Putin later visited a new Orthodox cathedral complex in central Paris.

Versailles was chosen for the Macron-Putin meeting because an exhibition dedicated to Tsar Peter the Great is opening there.

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