Following a high-profile meeting on Monday between French President Emmanuel Macron and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, a flurry of media reports in France centered on the setting of the talk, with the two leaders seated on either end of a meters-long conference table.

After visuals surfaced of the meeting, which was held in an effort to quell rising tensions on the border between Ukraine and Russia, Macron told news outlet France24 that the table’s large size was part of protocols in place to curb coronavirus infection.

“I experienced it as the health protocol that they wanted to impose but that did not bother the debate at all,” Macron stated. “There were small microphones and earphones, so we heard (each other) perfectly.”

BFMTV reported that the French delegation was completely tested for COVID-19 as they got off the plane.

The daily La Liberation also led with the table-talk on Tuesday’s issue, with a comically long table on its cover under the title Macron, Putin: Russian-style dialogue.

In a joint news conference at the end of the talks that lasted over six hours, both Macron and Putin affirmed that further discussions could take place.

Tension between Ukraine and Russia

Moscow and Kyiv have been locked in conflict since hostilities in the eastern Donbas region broke out in 2014 after Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula.

Russia has amassed thousands of troops near Ukraine’s borders, prompting fears it could be planning another military offensive against the former Soviet republic.

The US and its allies have warned of an imminent attack and threatened Russia with “severe consequences.”

Moscow, however, has denied it is preparing to invade Ukraine and said its troops are there for exercises.

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