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Putin-Macron meeting heralds glorious summer after long winter of discontent

20 4 0
20.08.2019

The “annexation” of Crimea, the shooting down of the Malaysian airliner, and the conflict in eastern Ukraine destroyed the partial re-establishment of normal relations which had started in 2008 with President Obama’s “re-set” and Nicolas Sarkozy’s rapprochement with Vladimir Putin. This included the Georgian crisis of that year, of which the French president’s decision in 2010 to sell two Mistral aircraft carriers to Russia was a potent symbol. The collapse in relations as a result of the Ukraine crisis led to EU and US sanctions against Russia, and to her expulsion from the G8 group of nations, as it then was, as well as to a war of words between East and West.

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Vladimir Putin’s visit on Monday to the fort at Bregancon, the official summer residence of the French president, demonstrates that that period is now officially closed. On every level, the West has now abandoned its earlier hostility to Putin and Russia. First, the symbolism: President Putin spends a lot of time governing from his own summer residence in Sochi, and the invitation to the Mediterranean coast, where the atmosphere is more intimate and relaxed than in Paris, was undoubtedly a gesture to Putin’s predilection for warmer climes. The fact that the meeting took place just a few days before the Biarritz summit of what is now the G7 also shows that Paris intends to include Moscow in discussing world affairs at the highest level, even if it is unlikely that Russia will be formally readmitted to that structure.

Even the substance of the meeting showed how much things have changed. When Emmanuel Macron said that........

© RT.com