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


Russia's hopes for a new detente under Trump have been shattered by congressional and FBI investigations of the Trump campaign's ties to Russian Federation. Putin emphasized the need for Russian Federation and France to develop closer cooperation and strongly rejected accusations of meddling in the recent French presidential vote.

Macron's full-on blast at the state news agency Sputnik and broadcaster Russia Today came at a news conference with Putin standing at his side.

Alongside Putin in the 17th-century palace of Versailles outside Paris, Macron on Monday said he had agreed to set up a working group with Russian Federation, including to exchange information.

He said the news outlets "on many occasions produced untruths about me and my campaign and so I determined that they had no place, I confirm it, in my headquarters". "They behaved like deceitful propaganda", said Macron.

Macron showed himself firm on other issues, too.

French President Emmanuel Macron has warned that France will respond immediately to any use of chemical weapons in Syria, while urging a closer partnership with Russian Federation in fighting the Islamic State (IS) in the country.

Later, Macron said he had a "frank exchange" in their first ever face to face meeting.

"Putin likes these big symbolic things".

James Nixey, head of the Russia and Eurasia program at United Kingdom think tank Chatham House, told VICE News that Macron's approach was likely informed by evidence presented to him in security briefings confirming that the Russians did indeed attempt to sway the outcome of the election.

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He also fended off claims he had sought to influence the electoral outcome by meeting Mr Macron's far-Right rival Marine Le Pen, whom he appeared to back during the campaign.

But after more than two hours of meetings - their first since Macron's May 7 election and longer than scheduled - both leaders also signaled a shared desire not to let disagreements define their fledgling relationship.

Upon a question whether he could envision Syria's political future without President Bashar al-Assad, Putin said: "I do not think I have the right to determine the political future of Syria, be it with or without al-Assad".

Le Pen visited Putin in Moscow in March while running in France's presidential election, which she lost to Macron this month.

Macron's invitation for Putin was a surprise after his tough stance on Russian Federation during the French election.

It also accused the Russians of having a hand in a massive cyberattack on key Macron aides.

Moscow strongly denied all allegations of election meddling, and Putin on Monday again poo-pooed the idea as unfounded press speculation. Joel Deumier, president of French gay rights' group SOS Homophobie, confirmed the refugee's arrival on news channel France Info on Monday.

The two leaders met on the 300th anniversary of Peter the Great's diplomatic visit to France in 1717.

Ties between Russian Federation and France became strained under Mr Macron's predecessor François Hollande.