By Chris King • 11 February 2022 • 20:01
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Photo credit: CC/Ziegler175
According to the Kremlin, before his meeting with Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Monday, February 7, French President Emmanuel Macron refused to take a Russian Covid-19 test.
An unusual image of the two world leaders appeared on social media showing them very socially distanced, sitting at the opposite ends of an extremely long four-metre table, as they met to discuss the growing tensions in Ukraine.
The picture sparked debate online, considering how, on earlier visits by world leaders, the Russian president had sat a lot closer to them. It was suggested by some diplomats that maybe Putin was displaying a dislike of his French counterpart, with others suggesting he might be sending a diplomatic message.
Dimitry Peskov, a spokesperson for the Kremlin seemed to answer the question when he explained to reporters today that on his arrival in Russia, Mr Macron had refused to undergo a PCR test that was offered to him.
“Some people follow their own rules, but in this case, a health protocol is applied to protect the health of our president and his host. There are no political considerations on this subject”, Peskov told the assembled media.
Peskov added that the distance between the two leaders at the table did not “interfere in any way with the negotiations”.
A spokesperson for the French president’s Elysee Palace in Paris stated that the imposed Russian health protocols were “neither acceptable nor compatible with the constraints of our agenda. We chose the other option proposed by the Russian protocol”.
It is speculated that Macron refused the test amid conjecture that the Russians could be trying to sample his DNA.
President Putin has regularly been pictured sitting several metres away from visiting dignitaries recently, after health measures in the country were tightened. Yet, during his meeting with Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Kazakh President, just three days later, the Russian leader was shown seated a lot closer to him, as reported by euronews.com.
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Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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