Macron presses Putin for Ukraine progress ahead of G7

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French president Macron is seeking to press the Kremlin to help end the conflict in Ukraine.

French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday hosts Vladimir Putin for a rare bilateral visit by the Russian strongman to a major EU power, seeking to press the Kremlin to help end the conflict in Ukraine.

Macron will meet Putin at his summer retreat of the Bregancon fortress on France's Mediterranean coast in the early evening, just days before he hosts world leaders including US President Donald Trump for the August 24-26 Group of Seven summit in Biarritz. But the press conference at that event was marked by an iciness with the French president in front of an impassive Putin accusing Russian state media of broadcasting"lying propaganda".Russia was slung out of what was the G8 in 2014 after it seized Ukraine's Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, an annexation the international community deems illegal.

Zelensky has offered to meet Putin for face-to-face talks and spoken to him by phone in recent weeks. Alexander Baunov, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Moscow Center, said Macron would be looking for ways to resuscitate the 2015 Minsk ceasefire deal which Paris and Berlin helped broker.- 'Very useful chance' -

Macron is expected to press Putin to use his influence with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to stop an offensive in the northern region of Idlib and ward off new refugee flows towards Turkey.

 

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