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Putin-Macron first meeting round-up

French President Emmanuel Macron has thanked Vladimir Putin for his official visit to France

The agenda of the talks in the Palace of Versailles covers a wide range of issues: from the intensification of Russian-French political, economic and cultural cooperation to the discussion of the situation in Ukraine, Syria and Libya and on the Korean peninsula.

French presidential election and Russia's alleged interference 

Russia has not interfered in elections in any country, there is no subject for discussion on this issue, President Vladimir Putin said at a news conference after talks with French counterpart Emmanuel Macron.

"As for the alleged interference of Russia in any elections, we did not discuss this issue and Mr. President [of France] showed no interest in this. On my part I say - what is here to discuss? I believe the subject does not exist," the Russian president said in reply to reporters’ query concerning accusations against Russia over alleged attempts to interfere in the process of the French presidential election.

The Russian president has noted that his meeting with Marine Le Pen was not aimed at influencing the recent presidential election in France: 

"Once Le Pen asked us for a meeting, we could not refuse her since she had been always a supporter for the development of relations with our country," Putin said. 

"It would have been strange on our behalf to shove away European politicians, who are interested in the development of multi-polar cooperation with our country," the Russian leader went on to say.

 "It does not mean that we somehow aimed at influencing the elections."

'Russian hackers'

Commenting on rumors about alleged interference of Russian hackers in the French presidential election, Putin reminded there were no hard facts proving this.

"My dear colleague, how can one comment on such things," he told the reporter. "Who is saying? Basing on what? This is unclear," Putin added.

He said that basing one’s actions on unsubstantiated guesses "is a dead-end road".

The approach to global problems  

Vladimir Putin has noted that Moscow and Paris were full of resolve to look for joint solutions to the problems of Syria, Ukraine, North Korea’s nuclear program and terrorism.

"We spoke about the Ukrainian crisis, spoke about the possibilities of settling the Syrian problem and, naturally, we also touched upon such a complex and, in my mind, dangerous situation as the situation with the nuclear problem in North Korea and with the North Korean missile program," the Russian leader said. 

"We are full of resolve to look for joint solutions to all these problems - naturally, in a way so that they do not deteriorate the situation and should, on the contrary, improve it," Putin added.

Ukraine and anti-Russian sanctions

New sanctions against Russia may only be caused by escalation of the Ukrainian conflict, Emmanuel Macron has warned: 

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

"If de-escalation does not happen, then there will be sanctions," he said. "I wish de-escalation exactly occurred," the president added.

Moscow repeatedly said Russia is not a party to a conflict in Ukraine and is acting as a mediator in crisis settlement. Therefore Russia cannot implement the Minsk Agreement on settlement in Ukraine and attempts to link sanctions to fulfillment of the agreement appear illogical and absurd, press secretary of the Russian President Dmitry Peskov said earlier.

Syria crisis 

French President Emmanuel Macron has said France and Russia could work together towards a settlement in Syria.

Speaking at a news conference after talks with Vladimir Putin, the French leader said he reminded him "about what France’s priorities were".

"I think we can work together on these issues," he said.

Macron also noted that "it is necessary to seek an inclusive political solution" to settle the Syrian crisis. He also stressed that he had told President Putin about the red line as to the use of chemical weapons.

"Any use of chemical weapons [in Syria] will see a prompt response [from Paris]," Macron said.