The Kremlin said that Macron refused to conduct a “Russian” corona examination, before the meeting, during which they discussed the Ukraine crisis.
The two presidents appeared on both sides of a table about 4 meters long when they spoke, in an unusual scene in meetings of leaders of countries, which prompted some to say that Putin might want to send a diplomatic message.
But Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the Russian side felt “the need to protect Putin at the meeting” from a possible infection, and stressed that “this is not related to politics, and did not affect the talks.”
Earlier, two sources in the French delegation accompanying Macron said that the latter had already rejected the Kremlin’s request to undergo a Russian examination for “Covid 19”.
The two sources told Reuters: “Macron found himself in front of two options: either accept a PCR examination conducted by the Russian authorities and then allow him to approach Putin, or refuse, forcing him to abide by strict social distancing rules.”
“We know very well that this means not shaking hands and sitting at a long table. But we will not accept them getting the president’s DNA,” one of the sources told Reuters, citing security concerns in the event that Macron was examined by Russian doctors.
The second source confirmed to “Reuters” that Macron refused to undergo an examination conducted by the Russian authorities, noting that he had instead conducted an examination before leaving France, and then an antibody test conducted by his own doctor upon his arrival in Russia.
“The Russians told us that Putin needs to stay in a tight medical bubble,” he said.