French President Emmanuel Macron is promising tough talk at his first meeting with Vladimir Putin today, following an election campaign when his team accused Russian media of trying to interfere in the democratic process.
Macron, who took office two weeks ago, has said that dialogue with Russia is vital in tackling a number of international disputes. Nevertheless, relations have been beset by mistrust, with Paris and Moscow backing opposing sides in the Syrian civil war and at odds over the Ukraine conflict.
Fresh from talks with his Western counterparts at a NATO meeting in Brussels and a G7 summit in Sicily, Macron will host the Russian president at the palace of Versailles outside Paris.
A Russian official told reporters in Moscow on Friday that the meeting was an opportunity to get a better feel for each other and that the Kremlin expected a frank conversation on Syria.