Russian President Vladimir Putin met with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron Monday to discuss EU-Russian relations and peace talks with Ukraine, reported Associated Press.
According to media reports, the two presidents agreed on issues regarding Ukraine and bilateral relations, however, did not come to an agreement on others, including protests in Moscow and conflict in Syria.
This year Macron hosted Putin in his summer residence in southern France. The meeting came not long before the official opening of the G-7 Summit, which will be held in France. US President Donald Trump and leaders of Britain, Canada, Germany, Italy, France and Japan are to gather in Biarritz on August 24-26. Russia, which was the eights country in the group, was excluded in 2014. However, President Macron is to share the information from his negotiations with Putin with the leaders of the six nations.
Macron told the reporters before his meeting with Putin that he was hopeful Ukraine’s newly elected president Volodymyr Zelensky would find ways to improve Ukraine’s relations with Russia.
Talking about recent protests in Russia Macron said: “We called this summer for freedom of protest, freedom of speech, freedom of opinion and the freedom to run in elections, which should be fully respected in Russia like for any member of the Council of Europe.”
in response to that President Putin stated:“We all know about the events linked to the so-called yellow vests during which, according to our calculations, 11 people were killed and 2,500 injured. We wouldn’t want such events to take place in the Russian capital and will do all we can to ensure our domestic political situation evolved strictly in the framework of the law.”
Putin and Macron reportedly talked about discussions on Ukrainian crisis in the Normandy format. President Zelensky has long been asking leaders of Germany, France and Russia to hold a meeting in a such format, yet his requests went unanswered since there were no specific topics put on agenda of the possible meeting. Yet it is unclear whether or not Normandy Format talks will take place this year.
The two presidents also discussed raising tensions between the US and Iran and agreed to work on de-escalating the conflict. “We worked a lot in recent weeks to prevent unrest in Iran,” said Macron.
With regards to bilateral relations, President Macron said he believed Russia was European. “The relation of France and Russia, of Russia and the European Union is absolutely decisive. I know all the things that have divided us, the misunderstandings over the last decades … I know another thing, which is that Russia is European, very profoundly, and we believe in a Europe which stretches from Lisbon (Portugal) to Vladivostok (Russia),” President Macron said.
Natalia Veselnitskaya – official website