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Macron to host Putin after Hollande said Russia's bombing could amount to war crimes

Macron’s aides accused the Kremlin of mounting a “smear campaign” against Macron.

Image: Zabulon Laurent/ABACA

FRENCH PRESIDENT EMMANUEL Macron will host Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin for talks at the Versailles palace on 29 May, the French presidency said today, as the countries look to reset strained relations.

The meeting has been arranged to coincide with an exhibition celebrating 300 years of Franco-Russian ties since the visit of Russian tsar Peter the Great to France in 1717.

The visit comes three weeks after Macron’s election and seven months after Putin cancelled a trip to Paris for the opening of a Russian cathedral complex near the Eiffel Tower in a spat with then president Francois Hollande.

The Socialist leader had said Russia’s bombing of the Syrian city of Aleppo could amount to war crimes.

Speaking last Friday, Russia’s ambassador to France, Alexander Orlov, said Moscow had a “positive perception” of Macron, describing him as “very intelligent, realistic and pragmatic”.

“I think he’s not very ideological compared with his predecessors,” Orlov told a meeting of business leaders. “With him we have more chances of moving forward than before.”

Macron’s campaign was subject to repeated cyberattacks and aides to him accused the Kremlin of mounting a “smear campaign” against him.

© – AFP, 2017

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