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Macron To Travel To Russia 'Soon' To Continue Dialogue With Putin


French President Emmanuel Macron

French President Emmanuel Macron said on June 27 that he plans to visit Russia "soon" to continue talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on key issues like security and climate change.

Macron has encouraged Europe and NATO to reexamine their strategic partnership with Moscow and suggested Europe's defiant approach has failed.

The French and Russian presidents talked one day earlier by videoconference.

"The trust-building dialogue initiated with President Putin at Fort Bregancon continue," Macron tweeted on June 27, adding, "We are moving forward and I will soon travel to Russia."

He specifically identified "security in Europe, regional conflicts, [and] climate including the melting of permafrost in the Arctic" as topics for discussion.

Relations between Moscow and the West are at post-Cold War lows over issues including Russia's annexation of Crimea, its role in Syria’s conflict, its alleged meddling in elections in the United States and other democracies, and poisonings and alleged Russian assassinations in European cities.

Macron said after their videoconference on June 26 that “all regional crises we’ve experienced shows the importance of making the European space, in a broad sense, from Lisbon to Vladivostok, a real space of cooperation and peace."

On Ukraine, where fighting between Ukrainian government forces and Russia-backed separatists has killed some 13,200 people since April 2014, Macron reportedly stressed it was crucial to quickly relaunch a road map aimed at ending the conflict.

He also reportedly urged an end to foreign interference in Libya, including by the so-called Vagner group of mostly former Russian service personnel who have been involved in clandestine operations in foreign countries.

Russia and several other countries have backed Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar in his war against forces backing the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA), which is mainly backed by Turkey.

Macron planned to attend the events in Red Square last month to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the World War II victory over Nazi Germany, but that event was postponed until June 23 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and the French president did not attend.

With reporting by Reuters, AFP, and AP
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