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Russia-French relations: French President Macron to host Russia’s Putin at Versailles palace

Macron=Putin meeting at Versailles Palace May 29
The meeting coincides with an exhibition to mark Russian Tsar Peter the Great’s visit to France 300 years ago, providing a perfect photo opportunity for the world’s press -- and for people-watchers -- to capture the two leaders shaking hands with Versailles Palace being used as a symbolic backdrop to demonstrate the historic ties between France and Russia.

The meeting between Macron and Putin is set to be a very closely watched event because the two presidents are expected to touch on an array of critical issues, including both Syria and Ukraine.

Macron has previously said Russia's bombing of the Syrian city of Aleppo could amount to a war crime.

Macron's presidential campaign was also subjected to repeated cyber-attacks, with the Japanese cyber-security firm Trend Micro telling FRANCE 24, "We are 99 percent sure that it is attacks from Russia".

His aides accused the Kremlin of mounting a "smear campaign" against him, with one of the major hacking attacks seeing troves of real and fake documents involving Macron’s campaign team being released online just before the vote. The incident seemed to have had little effect on the country’s voters, however, as the French media heeded a call from the election authorities to respect the French law regarding a nationwide press blackout in the final hours leading up to the vote.

Speaking last Friday, Russia's ambassador to France, Alexander Orlov, said Moscow had a "positive perception" of Macron, describing him as "very intelligent, realistic and pragmatic".

"I think he's not very ideological compared with his predecessors," Orlov told a meeting of business leaders. "With him we have more chances of moving forward than before."

The May 30-September 24 exhibition at the Versailles Palace marks Russian Tsar Peter the Great’s trip to France in 1717 and there will be a special exhibition in the Palace’s Grand Trianon. 

Read more: French President Macron to host Russia’s Putin at Versailles palace - France 24

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