On Tuesday, Russian president Vladimir Putin cancelled a trip to Paris that had been scheduled for next week. The decision comes after France announced that it would request a war crimes probe into Russia’s actions in Syria.
According to The Wall Street Journal, French president Francois Hollande had informed the Kremlin that any meeting between the two heads of state would focus on the embattled Middle East state, where Russia’s continued bombing of Aleppo has drawn the ire of many Western officials.
On Monday, French foreign minister Jean-Marc Ayrault told a radio station that the international community “must assign responsibility” for war crimes in Syria.
Putin’s trip was originally planned around the opening of a long-delayed, multi-million-dollar Russian Orthodox cathedral and cultural center in Paris. Moscow says that the trip was cancelled because that ceremony had to be dropped from the president’s schedule.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry suggested last week that Russia should be investigated for war crimes stemming from its actions in Syria; however, the United States has yet to make a formal entreaty to the International Criminal Court. France’s position on Syria has been more unequivocal than the American one, with calls for direct military intervention against Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
(Via The Wall Street Journal)