Vladimir Putin calls allegations of Russian interference in United States election "fiction"

"A very clear red line exists on our side, the use of chemical weapons by whomever", Macron said at a joint news conference in Versailles with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

He said any use of chemical weapons in Syria - where Russian Federation is propping up the government of President Bashar Assad - is a "red line" for France and would be met by "reprisals" and an "immediate riposte" from France.

He said he wanted to work with Putin to that end.

France is in the coalition backing Sunni Arab and Kurdish rebels opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who has strong military help from Russian Federation and Iran. Russian meddling became a concern in France after allegations that Russia sought to interfere in the US presidential contest that elected Donald Trump and after a document leak hit Macron's campaign in the final hours of the French race.

Pascal Boniface, the head of the Institute for global and Strategic Relations, says the exhibit at Versailles offered the new French president a chance to reengage with the longtime Russian leader.

The pair also discussed the Western sanctions imposed on Russia over its encroachment on neighbouring Ukraine as well as allegations of Russian meddling in France's presidential campaign.

A 2013 attack in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta that left hundreds dead crossed a "red line" drawn by then USA president Barack Obama.

On Monday he accused pro-Kremlin news outlets Russia Today and Sputnik of being "organs of influence and propaganda" against him.

"All use of chemical weapons will be the object of reprisals and of an immediate riposte on the part of the French", Mr Macron said.

The U.S. last month struck a Syrian air base with cruise missiles after accusing Assad's military of killing scores of civilians with a nerve agent launched from the base.

"It is not for me to comment on Madame Le Pen's visit" to Moscow, Macron said, in response to another question about the vote. His comments underscored the clear differences between the two men on multiple issues and fulfilled the French president's campaign promises to pull no punches with Russian Federation when needed.

Though the tone remained cordial throughout, Emmanuel Macron, the youngest democratically elected head of state in the world, and Vladimir Putin, the modern-day czar who has ruled Russia for the past 16 years, spoke with unaccustomed frankness about the issues that have poisoned contemporary Franco-Russian relations at a press conference in Versailles on Monday.

"I reminded him of the importance for France of the respect of all peoples and all minorities, all sensibilities in civil society", Macron said of Putin. The US Government subsequently worked with Russian Federation on a deal that was supposed to rid Syria of such weapons.

The two leaders agreed on the need of a new round of talks on the violence in eastern Ukraine.

Macron said France and Russia would pursue further dialogue in the "Normandy" format, including France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine.

Relations between Paris and Moscow became increasingly strained under former president Francois Hollande.

Human Rights Watch said in a new report last week that high-level officials in Russia's Chechnya humiliated inmates during visits to detention facilities where gay people were allegedly held and tortured. "I don't believe in the diplomacy of public invective, but in my bilateral conversations, I will let nothing pass".

This time the handshake was warmer but the tone guarded after an hour of talks on the 300th anniversary of a visit to Versailles by tsar Peter the Great.

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