Putin says he's certain that Syria's Assad didn't use chemical weapons

Cheryl Sanders
May 31, 2017

It was a way of "explaining to the global community why it was necessary to continue to impose measures to pressure Assad, including militarily", Putin said.

Putin says it would be odd if Russian Federation rebuffed overtures from European politicians who want to strengthen relations.

"It's indispensable to talk to Russian Federation because there are a number of worldwide subjects that will not be resolved without a tough dialogue with them", Macron told reporters at the end of the G7 summit on Saturday, where the Western leaders agreed to consider new measures against Moscow if the situation in Ukraine did not improve.

But he said France and Russian Federation, which backs Assad, should work together on Syria and he said he wanted France and Russian Federation to boost sharing of intelligence in working together to find a political solution to the conflict. "Russia Today and Sputnik ... behaved as organs of influence, of propaganda, of lying propaganda".

The vast and sumptuous room at the Palace of Versailles, which has been chosen by France to host President Emmanuel Macron's press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin, celebrates 14 centuries of French military successes.

Putin told reporters that Macron had not broached the subject of the cyberattack in their talks on Monday.

Macron, whose country is part of a Western coalition that supports rebel groups and has accused Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of using chemical weapons, said any further use of chemical weapons in Syria was a red line for France which would result in reprisals.

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

Sounding less forthcoming, Putin said he wasn't sure if France's Syria policy was "independent" because it was part of a U.S-lead alliance, adding that Paris and Moscow had points of disagreement and agreement over Syria.

Yesterday's Versailles meeting added momentum to the argument that Donald Trump's election and effect on the geopolitical landscape means that a de facto rapprochement between Europe and Russian Federation is on the cards.

Macron said he spoke to Putin about LGBT rights in the Russian republic of Chechnya and about the rights of embattled non-governmental organizations in Russia, vowing to be "vigilant" on these issues.

"Our absolute priority is the fight against terrorism and the eradication of terrorist groups and Daesh in particular", he said, using an alternate name for the Islamic State group that has claimed several deadly attacks in France.

On his part, Putin warned that sanctions against Russian Federation over Ukraine would "in no way" resolve the crisis.

The visit was created to warm ties between the two countries that have remained frosty since the previous administration's attitudes to Syria and Ukraine.

Putin's schedule included a trip to a newly opened Russian Orthodox cathedral in Paris - a call he had been due to make for its inauguration in October, but which was cancelled along with that trip. Syria has the backing of Russian Federation.

Other reports by iNewsToday