Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin both
attended a World War I commemorative event in Paris this
Putin said on Sunday that France asked that he and
Trump not meet one-on-one at the event, and that he agreed to
But later that day he said he did end up having a brief
conversation with Trump, describing the chat as a “good”
The two leaders were meant to sit next to each other at
lunch, but France changed the seating plan at the last
Russian newspaper Kommersant reported that French
President Emmanuel Macron personally asked that Trump and Putin
not meet so that they don’t upstage him.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said France specifically asked
him not to hold one-on-one meetings with Donald Trump during
World War I commemorations in Paris this weekend — but he ended
up chatting to him anyway.
Putin said on Sunday afternoon that he agreed to the request so
as to “not violate” France’s planned events. He told the
state-owned RT news channel, according to the state-run
agency: “We will agree that we will not violate the schedule
of the host party here: at their request, we will not organize
any meetings here.”
Less than an hour later, however, Putin told reporters that he
did end up having a brief conversation with Trump.
When asked by journalists whether he had a chance to talk to
Trump, Putin said “yes,” Interfax and RT reported. According to
RT, Putin added that the chat was “good.” Where and when that
talk took place is not clear.
The leaders had been in Paris over the weekend to mark 100 years
since the armistice that ended World War I. German Chancellor
Angela Merkel, Canadian President Justin Trudeau,
and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker also
attended the commemoration.
It was the first time the two leaders met since their summit
in Helsinki in July, during which Trump claimed that he
didn’t “see any reason” why Russia would interfere in the 2016
presidential elections. National-security experts said that the
behaved like a “controlled spy.”
According to the
Russian newspaper Kommersant, the request that Putin and
Trump not meet one-on-one came from French President Emmanuel
The French president asked that his Russian and US counterparts
not hold negotiations in Paris so that they would not “eclipse”
the events and meetings that Paris had organized, Kommersant
said, a European diplomatic source.
Paris’ eagerness that Trump and Putin not meet even resulted in
the last-minute change in the seating plan at a lunch for the
leaders at the Elysée Paris, RT reported.
A preliminary seating plan of the lunch showed Trump placed next
The Guardian reported, but photos of the lunch
released by the Russian presidency showed Putin seated between
Juncker and UN Secretary-General António Guterres.
Trump, meanwhile, was placed next to Macron, who was sat opposite
Putin — making it difficult for the US and Russian presidents to
have personal asides,
The Guardian reported.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the leaders
discussed a “variety of issues,” including the Intermediate-range
Nuclear Forces treaty
that Trump threatened to withdraw from, North Korea, and
Putin said he hopes to meet Trump one-on-one on the sidelines of
the G20 summit in Argentina in late November instead, RT and