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Putin urges end of 'mutual distrust' in message to Macron

By Andrew V. Pestano
Putin urges end of 'mutual distrust' in message to Macron
Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested France and Russia must work together to fight against global terrorism. Photo by Sergei Karpukhin/EPA

May 8 (UPI) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated Emmanuel Macron for winning the French presidential election, urging him to end "mutual distrust."

Macron defeated far-right candidate Marine Le Pen in the French election on Sunday with about 66 percent of votes to 34 percent, respectively.

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World leaders congratulated Macron, including Putin, who suggested France and Russia must work together to fight against global terrorism -- to which both countries have been recent victims.

"The people of France have elected you to the highest office in your country in challenging times for Europe and the international community in general. The growing threat of terrorism and violent extremism goes hand in hand with the escalation of local conflicts and the destabilization of entire regions," Putin's message reads. "Against this backdrop, overcoming mutual distrust and joining efforts to ensure international stability and security is especially important."

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Though France and Russia have recently had strained relations due to France's support of international sanctions against Russia following Moscow's annexation of Crimea, the Kremlin's relationship with Macron may already be directly hindered.

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Prior to the election in France, Putin invited Macron's rival Le Pen to Moscow. Russia is also accused of launching hacking attacks on Macron's campaign in an effort to support Le Pen's candidacy.

In a similar circumstance, the U.S. intelligence community alleges Russia of directed cyberattacks in efforts to help Donald Trump defeat Hillary Clinton in the November election.

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The Kremlin said Putin also wished Macron "good health, well-being and success in performing the important duties of head of state."

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