Putin cancels France trip amid rift over Syria

Russian President Vladimir Putin has cancelled his trip to Paris scheduled for next week after French President Francois Hollande said he would see him only for talks on achieving peace in Syria’s increasingly bloody five-year war.

“The president made the decision to cancel his visit,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Tuesday.

“The president noted that he is ready to visit Paris at a time convenient for Hollande. We will wait for this convenient time to come.”

Al Jazeera said Putin’s cancellation is the latest deterioration in ties between Moscow and the West after Russia vetoed a French-drafted United Nations Security Council resolution on Syria.

Growing anger over the Russia-backed onslaught on rebel-held areas of Aleppo had led Paris to reconsider whether to host Putin on October 19.

Putin was expected to meet Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in separate talks on the Syria crisis, particularly the city of Aleppo where government air strikes backed by Russian jets have pummelled rebel-held areas in the east.