02:55 GMT29 October 2020
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    Russia is testing the ability of Western countries to interact by joint international conflicts' resolution, French President Francois Hollande said.

    ROME (Sputnik) — Russia's participation in resolving international conflicts can be explained by aspiration to test the ability of Western countries to counteract and resist, French President Francois Hollande said.

    "Russia wants to take part in resolving conflicts to gain advantage from it, this is what we see in Syria. Russia asserts itself as a power. It tests our resilience and measures the balance of power," Hollande said in an interview with a number of European media outlets published on Monday.

    Hollande, nevertheless, stressed the necessity to continue dialogue with Russia.

    Moscow carries out "ideological operations" in the world, the French president noted, adding that all far-right movements are to some extent linked to Russia.

    Western countries have repeatedly accused Russia of meddling in internal affairs without providing any proof. Moscow denied all allegations, calling them baseless.

    On March 3, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia had no plans to influence French elections. The Kremlin considers the issue as solely a French internal matter, he added. However, Paris has not halted political dialogue with Moscow despite the existing disagreements, French President Francois Hollande said.

    "I am frequently asked why I rarely communicate with President Putin. But I have not ceased the dialogue with him! And that is very good. Vladimir Putin is the head of a great state that has historical ties with France," Hollande said in an interview with a number of European media outlets published on Monday.

    Hollande specified that German Chancellor Angela Merkel was also maintaining regular contacts with Russia.

    "But to maintain a dialogue does not mean to give in," the French president stressed.

    In February, both Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his counterpart Jean-Marc Ayrault said that they viewed any contact between Russia and France as a very important. Later that month, Russian upper house speaker Valentina Matvienko said that France remained a key partner of Russia in Europe.

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    Tags:
    European Union, conflict resolution, participation, Francois Hollande, Russia, France
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