Speed Reads

An olive branch?

French President Hollande makes unexpected visit to Vladimir Putin in Russia

Flying back from Kazakhstan toward Paris, French President Francois Hollande made an impromptu stopover in Moscow on Saturday, where he met with Russian President Vladimir Putin, The Associated Press reports.

The visit makes Hollande the first Western leader to visit Russia since the Crimea annexation took place in March, and was a rare show of goodwill toward the isolated Putin. However, the visit took place without the usual political protocol; Hollande and Putin met at the Moscow airport, where they reportedly discussed Russia's role in developing a permanent cease-fire between Ukraine and pro-Russian militants.

"France wants this crisis to end because it is causing suffering, for Ukrainians and because of the sanctions, and because it prevents relations with Russia from proceeding as they should," Hollande said after the meeting.