RUSSIA AND FRANCE’S DEEP HISTORICAL ROOTS VLADIMIR PUTIN AND EMMANUEL MACRON FORGE A NEW PATH TO PEACE
VLADIMIR PUTIN: “The educated French public is familiar with Anna of Rus, Queen of France. She was the youngest daughter of Yaroslav the Wise, married Henri I and made a substantial contribution to France’s development as one of the founders of at least two European dynasties, the Bourbons and the Valois. One of these dynasties is on the throne to this day in Spain.”
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JOURNALIST QUESTION: “You came to France in order to open an exhibition that marks 300 years since the establishment of diplomatic ties between Russia and France. There have been highs and lows in the relations between the two countries. What is your perspective on the current state of these relations?”
VLADIMIR PUTIN: “It is true that President Macron invited me to take part in the opening of the exhibition. However, let me tell you straight away that the relations between Russia and France have a much longer history and much deeper roots, as the French President and I both mentioned on several occasions today. In fact, the younger daughter of Yaroslav the Wise, one of Russians Grand Princesses, Anna came her in the 11th century to marry King Henry I of France. She was actually called Anna of Russia’s, Queen of France. Her son Philip I of France was the founder of two European royal houses, the Valois and the Bourbons, and the latter rules in Spain to this day. This goes to say that the roots of our relations go much deeper, although over the last 300 years they did pick up momentum. I very much hope that today’s even, the exhibition and my talks with President Macron will give a new impetus to these relations.”
JOURNALIST QUESTION: “Mr. President, what is your vision of Peter the Great, who came to Versailles in 1717 to establish diplomatic relations?“
VLADIMIR PUTIN: “As I have said to my French colleague and our French friends today, Peter the Great was above all a reformer, a man who not only implemented the best and the most up-to-date practices, but also was undoubtedly a patriot, who fought to secure for Russia the place it deserved in international affairs. But above all, he was committed to reforming his country, making it modern, resilient and forward-looking. He succeeded in many, if not all of his undertakings. He focused on research, education, culture, military affairs, and statehood, leaving an immense legacy that Russia has been relying on to this day, let alone the fact that he founded my hometown, St Petersburg, which was the capital of Russia for many years.”
JOURNALIST QUESTION: “After Russia’s military intervention in September 2015 in Syria, what do you think are the main solutions for Syria to get out of this long-term war?“
VLADIMIR PUTIN: “First I would like to note the constructive approach of Turkey and Iran, and, of course, the Syrian government, which, together with Russia, have managed to achieve a ceasefire. The ceasefire would not have been possible without the so-called Syrian armed opposition. It was the first and very important step towards peace. Another step, which is no less important, is the agreement on establishing the so-called de-escalation zones. Currently there are four such zones. We believe this is an extremely important milestone on the way to peace, if I can phrase it this way, because it is impossible to talk about a political settlement without stopping the bloodshed. Now, in my opinion, we are all facing a different task, which is technically and I would even say technologically completing the creation of these de-escalation zones, agreeing on their boundaries and how government bodies will function there, as well as how these de-escalation zones will communicate with the outside world. Incidentally, President Macron mentioned this when he was speaking about humanitarian aid convoys. Generally, I believe that the French President is right and it is one of the points of contact where we can cooperate with our French colleagues.”
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SERGEY KISLYAK, FEDERATION COUNCIL SENATOR: “Our opponents were using our absence to spread untruths, half-truths, and blatant lies regarding Russia. Now, we’ll be busy making sure the organization understands the real situation in the world.”
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French President Emmanuel Macron: “There are no alternatives to the Minsk agreements. Frozen conflicts need to be resolved with dialogue and excluding Russia is the path to nowhere. I fully support the decision that was made to restore Russia’s presence in the Council of Europe because Russian people support European human principles. Because Russia’s geography, history, and culture are essentially European. Europe must enter a new era and prioritize reaching a Ukrainian settlement.”