Putin tells Macron he sees no alternative to Ukraine talks

French President Emmanuel Macron has invited Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday afternoon to his summer residence the Fort de Bregancon on the French Riviera. — AFP  File

Putin is hosted by his French counterpart Macron at the French presidential summer retreat residence in Bregancon, five days before the Group of Seven (G7) summit in Biarritz, a seaside town in southern France. "There are things that are worth talking about and that give grounds for cautious optimism".

Iran will also feature high on the agenda, with Paris keen for Moscow to use its close ties with Tehran to prevent a further escalation of conflicts in the Middle East. Russian Federation denies any direct participation.

Peskov noted that no specific message, which the French president could convey to the G7 leaders, had been formulated at the talks.

It sparked a war in eastern Ukraine between government forces and Russian-backed separatists which has so far claimed the lives of more than 13,000 people.

Putin indicated on Monday that Russian Federation would be prepared to rejoin if invited. "We will do everything to make sure the situation remains within the realms of the law", he said.

It is more hard for European countries to act, he explained, because their companies are too closely linked to the USA market, unlike Russian ones. The area is the last major jihadi-run holdout in the country, which has been embroiled in civil conflict since 2011. "Because we are a country where people can express themselves freely, protest freely, go to elections freely", Macron added. Russian police have faced accusations of brutally suppressing the rallies.

"I am a guest here and it's uncomfortable for me to talk about this", said Putin, before reeling off casualty tolls from the yellow vest protests. Moscow has been rocked by weekly protests for more than a month after the authorities barred opposition candidates from running in an election for the city's legislature in September. He recalled that the two leaders' conversation was preceded by a news conference, during which the heads of state outlined the key issues on the agenda. You can sign up to receive it directly here.

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