Putin responds to 'aggressive' US
Updated: 2014-06-05 07:01
Eyeing a potential opportunity to exploit the different approaches of the United States and its European allies, Russian President Vladimir Putin gave an exclusive interview to French broadcasters Europe1 and TF1 on Wednesday.
In it, he praised France's tradition of taking an independent line from the US on the world stage and talked up a supposed special relationship between Moscow and Paris.
He also accused the US of hypocrisy in its "aggressive" attempts to isolate Russia and poured scorn on Obama's reluctance to meet him.
"It is his choice, I am ready for dialogue," Putin said.
"We have almost no military forces abroad, yet look: Everywhere in the world there are American military bases, American troops thousands of kilometers from their borders. They interfere in the interior affairs of this or that country. So it is difficult to accuse us of abuses."
Hollande was the first major Western leader to break ranks, inviting Putin for evening talks on Thursday, despite already being booked to dine with Obama.