The newly elected French President Emmanuel Macron greeted Vladimir Putin in Paris. The two leaders met in one of the best-known locations in France – the Palace of Versailles on the outskirts of Paris, built by the most powerful French monarch, King Louis XIV in the XVII century.
Macron gave Putin a warm welcome, and the two leaders exchanged a handshake. They talked behind closed doors, almost an hour longer than scheduled.
As previously announced, Putin and Macron discussed about Syria and Ukraine, as well as other important issues. Macron said he had a ‘frank exchange’ with Putin, but it was during the joint media press-conference that the French President put forward the question of Russian media working against his campaign.
Macron said: “During the campaign, Russia Today and Sputnik were agents of influence which on several occasions spread fake news about me personally and my campaign. They behaved like organs of influence, of propaganda and of lying propaganda.”
Macron’s campaign aides accused Russian media, most notably RT and Sputnik, of smearing Macron and trying to discredit him. It was also alleged that Russian hackers repeatedly tried to hack Macron’s campaign email servers.
As a result, Macron’s campaign banned RT and Sputnik journalists from Macron’s headquarters, a move that Russian Foreign Ministry called: “outrageous … bare-faced discrimination”.
Both the RT and Sputnik, as well as Russian officials, dismissed the allegations, and denied any influence in French presidential election.
Macron himself harshly criticized Russia and Kremlin’s actions in Syria and Ukraine.
Putin’s visit to Paris was intended to mark the 300th anniversary of Russian Emperor Peter the Great’s visit to France. The event marked a start of Peter’s modernization of Russia.
However, the relations between France and Russia deteriorated during the last years, as a result of events in Ukraine and Western sanctions.
Putin and Macron said they agreed that France and Russia should work together on Syria and implied the possibility of new round of Ukraine peace talks in Normandy between France, Russia, Germany and Ukraine.
Photo Credit: REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer