Russia is a European country, French President Emmanuel Macron has said following talks with President Vladimir Putin.

Macron hosted Putin in France on Monday, where the French leader played up efforts “to tie Russia and Europe back together” and underscored his belief that “Europe stretches from Lisbon to Vladivostok.” 

“Russia is a very deeply European country,” Macron wrote on his Facebook page in the Russian language a day after meeting with Putin.

During talks at his summer residence in the Mediterranean, the French president told his counterpart that Moscow must abide by fundamental democratic principles and that maintaining a dialogue between the countries is necessary to move forward on international crises. 

In his Facebook post, Macron said “progress on many political and economic issues is evident for we’re trying to develop Franco-Russian relations.”

“I’m convinced that, in this multilateral restructuring, we must develop a security and trust architecture between the European Union and Russia,” Macron wrote.

Since he took office in 2017, Macron has sought to display firmness to Putin while at the same time encouraging Moscow into a less confrontational stance on international issues, particularly regarding the conflict in Ukraine, by trying to “anchor” it to Europe.