Putin cancels France trip over 'war crimes' comments

Putin cancels France trip over 'war crimes' comments
The Russian president had been expected to attend the opening of a spiritual centre, but cancelled his visit to Paris after Hollande demanded talks over Syria.
2 min read
12 October, 2016
Relations between France and Russia have deteriorated over Syria [Getty]

Russian president, Vladimir Putin, cancelled a visit to Paris after the French president, Francois Hollande, described the bombardment of Aleppo as a "war crime" on Tuesday.

Putin had been expected to open a spiritual centre at a Russian Orthodox church near the Eiffel Tower on October 19, however cancelled after Hollande insisted upon talks over Russia's involvement in Syria.

"There were some events scheduled, including the opening of a Russian cultural and religious center, [and] exhibitions.

"Unfortunately, those events were struck off the program, so the president decided to cancel his visit to France for now," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

Hollande was speaking at the Council of Europe on Tuesday, where he made a number of comments about France's relationship with Russia.

"I consider it is necessary to have dialogue with Russia, but it must be firm and frank otherwise it has no place and it is a charade.

"I'm ready to meet President Putin if we can make progress on peace," the French leader said.

Last week, the United States secretary of state, John Kerry said that Russia should be investigated for war crimes at a joint conference with the French foreign minister, Ayrault. Hollande repeated those remarks on Monday.

"These are people who today are the victims of war crimes," Hollande said, "those that commit these acts will have to face up to their responsibility, including in the International Criminal Court."

Agencies contributed to this story