The Kremlin on Monday rejected claims by French President Emmanuel Macron over the weekend that his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin wished to break up the European Union. In an interview with the Swedish public broadcaster SVT, the French leader said: "I do respect Vladimir Putin but (his) dream is a dismantling of the European Union." Spokesman Dmitry Peskov however told journalists the Russian president was in fact working to develop ties with member states and strengthen the union.
"With regards to respect, the president answers in kind. He has developed a very constructive working relationship, and good personal relationship (with Macron)," Peskov said.
"In terms of Putin's relationship towards the European Union, we unfortunately must argue that it is not Russia's doing if this relationship is in rather a chilly situation," he added.
"It is in our interests that the European Union is prosperous and stable. President Putin has made this approach clear on several occasions and there is no plan to change it."
Macron and Putin last met during the World Cup in Russia this summer when France won the tournament.