Putin, Macron hold talks before G7

Cheryl Sanders
August 20, 2019

Speaking alongside French President Emmanuel Macron ahead of bilateral talks, Putin said that all of those injured and killed in the blast would receive state awards.

Putin said the two leaders would discuss his recent talks with Ukraine's new President Volodymyr Zelensky, which he said provided "cautious grounds for optimism".

Performing after Putin's congratulations in the summer residence on the South of France, Macron expressed hope that he may reach an agreement with Vladimir Putin about holding a summit in the Normandy Format for the Donbas conflict settlement.

Putin retorted that he did not want a situation like the Gilets Jaunes protests his own country and said those who are guilty of breaking protest laws should be held responsible.

The conflict in eastern Ukraine has killed more than 13,000 people since 2014.

Earlier this month, France strongly condemned the Russian crackdown on opposition protests, denouncing the arrests of more than 2,000 people and the "clearly excessive use of force".

Putin also bristled at Macron's urging him to respect democratic principles in Russian Federation after weeks of anti-government protests in Moscow.

"The population in Idlib is living under bombs, children are being killed", Macron said.

Putin responded by saying that Moscow did not want protests like the yellow vest ones that have convulsed France, but that peaceful demonstrations were fine.

Macron said the situations couldn't be compared, adding that in France, protesters were able to run in elections.

"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)", Macron said.

In response to Macron's comments, Putin said Russian Federation, which entered the war in 2015 in support of Assad, backed the Syrian army's operations in Idlib.

Macron reasoned: "It's not today that we are going to resolve misunderstandings that were installed back in the 90s".

"These kind of invitations to Putin from western leaders are rare, because relations between Western powers and Russian Federation are tense, not least over issues such as Syria and Ukraine", she said.

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