French President Emmanuel Macron welcomed Russian Vladimir Putin to Versailles and then blasted Russian media for meddling in the French elections. Colette Luke reports.
French President Emmanuel Macron rolled out the red carpet welcoming Russia's Vladimir Putin to Versailles on Monday, but the French hospitality was tempered by frank criticism. Macron, who stood alongside Putin, denounced Russian news outlets RT and Sputnik as state-run broadcasters that spread falsehoods about him during the presidential campaign. Macron saying, 'They behaved like organs of influence, of propaganda, and of lying propaganda.' Putin pushed back, denying that Russia was involved in the French political race. (SOUNDBITE) RUSSIAN PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN SAYING: "As for the imaginary intrusion by Russia into elections anywhere - we did not discuss this. And Mr. President did not show any interest in talking about it. As for me - I think there is nothing to talk about." Despite their differences, both leaders stressed that they found common ground on the subject of national security (SOUNDBITE) FRENCH PRESIDENT EMMANUEL MACRON SAYING: "Our absolute priority is fighting terrorism and the eradication of terrorist groups...I would like to strengthen our partnership with Russia..." (SOUNDBITE) RUSSIAN PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN SAYING: "things that unite us give us a reason to think that we cannot only intensify but also improve the quality of our cooperation." Hoping to get relations off to a new start, the President is meeting Putin at the opening of an exhibition marking 300 years of diplomatic ties between the two countries. The presentation retracing the steps of Russian Tsar Peter the Greats visit to France in 1717. During Putin's visit, protesters stood in front of the Eiffel Tower with a banner demonstrating against homophobia in Chechnya... Russia has come under scrutiny after reports that gay men men were being tortured and killed..... Activists calling for an investigation were arrested by Russian police earlier this month. Macron said the issue was discussed and Putin promised to take measures that would reveal what was happening there. It's just one of the many topics likely to make for tense backroom discussions between the two leaders.