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Vladimir Putin, Francois Hollande
In this Thursday, Nov. 26, 2015 file photo, Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, shakes hands with his French counterpart Francois Hollande during their meeting in Moscow, Russia. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, Pool, File) Alexander Zemlianichenko—AP

Putin Cancels France Trip After President Hollande Accuses Russia of War Crimes in Syria

Oct 11, 2016

Russian President Vladimir Putin has indefinitely postponed a visit to France, the Kremlin said Tuesday, following a bitter rift over Syria between the two countries.

Putin's decision came after French President Francois Hollande suggested Moscow was guilty of war crimes in Syria, CNN reports. Putin's spokesman, however, said the reason for the cancellation was that the events scheduled during the visit had changed, according to the Associated Press.

Tensions are high between the countries after a Franco-Spanish U.N. Security Council resolution demanding an end to air strikes and military flights over Aleppo was vetoed by Russia (along with Venezuela) last weekend.

On Monday, President Hollande told a French TV station that Russia could face war crimes charges over its bombardment of Aleppo in the International Criminal Court (ICC). "These are people who today are the victims of war crimes. Those that commit these acts will have to face up to their responsibility, including in the ICC," he said, the BBC reported.

The AP reports that Putin was to meet with the French President and inaugurate a new Orthodox church next to the Eiffel Tower along with a cultural center during his now-canceled Paris trip. Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told AP that Putin could visit France at a later date which would be "comfortable" for Hollande.

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