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Putin-Macron Meeting A Chance To ‘Get Acquainted,’ Kremlin Says


French President Emmanuel Macron (left) and Russian President Vladimir Putin (composite file photo)

The Kremlin says a meeting between the Russian and French presidents near Paris next week will be "an opportunity to talk frankly and to get a better feel for each other."

Vladimir Putin and Emmanuel Macron are due to meet at the palace of Versailles on May 29 to inaugurate an exhibition devoted to a visit by Tsar Peter I to France 300 years ago.

"The main thing for the presidents is to get acquainted with each other" and discuss issues including terrorism and the conflicts in Syria and Ukraine, a senior Kremlin aide, Yury Ushakov, said on May 26.

Putin and Macron discussed those conflicts in a phone call last week.

Moscow and the West are deeply at odds over Russian military actions and other interference in Ukraine and Syria.

Macron won the French presidency in a May 7 runoff against far-right leader Marine Le Pen, who has opposed sanctions against Russia over its aggression in Ukraine.

The French election was held amid concern over meddling by Russia following U.S. intelligence officials' conclusion that Putin ordered a hacking and propaganda campaign to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

An Internet security firm said in a report last month that Macron's campaign was targeted in cyberattacks bearing the hallmarks of a hacking outfit, which intelligence officials say is a branch of Russia's espionage apparatus.

Based on reporting by Reuters, Interfax, and TASS
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