Putin: Russian meddling 'fiction' invented by Democrats

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In Versailles, he and Macron inaugurated an exhibition marking the visit of Russia's modernising tsar Peter the Great to Versailles in 1717. Previously, Putin said he would talk to the prosecutor general and interior minister regarding an investigation.

Macron, who took office two weeks ago, has said dialogue with Russian Federation is vital in tackling a number of global disputes.

President Emmanuel Macron has warned that France would respond immediately to any use of chemical weapons in Syria.

"Our top priority is the fight against terrorism, the eradication of Daesh, and that is why I want to strengthen our partnership with Russia", Macron explained, while Putin claimed that the crisis in Ukraine can not be dealt with without stamping out terrorists, who he called the "scourges of the 21st century".

Putin's foreign affairs adviser, Yuri Ushakov, said Russian Federation is dissatisfied with the current level of political contacts, adding that the talks will offer a chance to review them.

Fighting worldwide terrorism is among the issues on which Russian Federation and the West must work together, Putin said. They hoped to start talks under the "Normandy format" which groups the leaders of Russia, Germany, France and Ukraine, in days or weeks.

President Donald Trump told France's new president that he was "my guy" in the recent election, a French official said Thursday.

Mr Macron told journalists he had raised the concerns around the treatment and imprisonment of transgender and gay people in Chechnya, led by pro-Kremlin leader Ramzan Kadyrov.

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"I will not give an inch on this", he said. The Lithuanian foreign minister, Linas Linkevicius, says visas have already been issued to two gay men from Chechnya who were "persecuted due to their sexual orientation".

During Macron's election campaign, RT and Sputnik were denied access to his campaign headquarters.

Putin emphasised the need for closer cooperation between Russian Federation and France, two nuclear-armed permanent members of the UN Security Council. Putin openly supported two of Macron's rivals, Republican Francois Fillon and then Marine Le Pen, and Macron's team accused the Russian government of involvement in a series of cyber attacks on their systems. The Russian leader added that he and Macron had particularly agreed to establish a working group on fighting terrorism.

The leader of the Crimean tartars, who is up for the European Parliament's Sakharov prize, has said that his people are worse off under the Russian occupation than they were during the Soviet era.

"Our two countries will cooperate on Syria, this is essential", Macron said. Its opulence seemed to catch Russia's attention more than any critical statements during the three-hour meeting.

One day before the election Macron's campaign staff alleged that their computers were hacked and a mix of fake and authentic documents attached to the candidate were posted on social media "in order to create confusion and misinformation". The meeting was of particular interest in large part thanks to allegations of Russian interference in the French election, which ostensibly backfired.

BEARDSLEY: There was the inevitable question about Russian meddling in the French presidential election.

With bombings in Paris and elsewhere across Europe and war in the Middle East, it's unusual to hear speculation about a fictional Russian threat, Vladimir Putin said in an exclusive interview with Le Figaro.

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