Putin and Macron's meeting on an enormous table has become an instant meme

Putin and Macron's meeting on an enormous table has become an instant meme
Emmanuel Macron meets Vladimir Putin in Moscow amid ongoing Ukraine tension

French President Emmanuel Macron sat across from Russia's Vladimir Putin on Monday in an attempt to de-escalate the Ukraine standoff – and the pair certainly kept their distance.

Macron made the trip to the Kremlin, where two leaders discussed the deepening Ukraine crisis over a five-hour lunch of reindeer with sweet potatoes and blackberries.

Macron told reporters the coming days would be "decisive" and "require intensive discussions which we will pursue together".

The Russian president said that some of Macron's proposals "could form the basis of further joint steps", adding that they were "probably still too early to talk about".

He added: "We will do everything to find compromises that suit everyone."

Moscow has denied any plans to invade. "It is not us who are moving towards NATO's borders," Putin said.

Despite the seriousness of the meeting, people turned their attention to the abnormally long table.


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Inevitably, Twitter turned it into a meme.

One humoured: "There is more space between Macron and Putin than between the Russian troops and the Ukrainian borders", while others brought their best Photoshop skills to the table.

Putin's spokesman, Dmitri Peskov, said the situation in Ukraine was "too complex to expect a decisive breakthrough after just one meeting."

Macron aimed to ensure things didn't worsen on the ground. Before the meeting, Macron said: "I don't believe in spontaneous miracles."

Speaking with French newspaper Journal du Dimanche, Macron said: "The security and sovereignty of Ukraine or any other European state cannot be a subject for compromise, while it is also legitimate for Russia to pose the question of its own security,"

He said he believes "the geopolitical objective of Russia today is clearly not Ukraine, but to clarify the rules of cohabitation with NATO and the EU."

The pair will speak again after the French president travels to Kyiv on Tuesday to meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

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