French President Emmanuel Macron said Friday he might strip his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin of France’s top honor, but is waiting for the “right moment” to do so.
Putin received the Grand-Croix de la Legion d’Honneur, the top rank in France’s honors system, in 2006 at a time when Moscow enjoyed better relations with Paris and the West.
But since Putin ordered last year’s all-out invasion of Ukraine, ties have all but broken down and the European Union has imposed a range of tough economic sanctions.
On Wednesday, Macron awarded Putin’s enemy Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky the top honor, but he has yet to formally remove it from Putin.
Speaking after an EU summit in which leaders considered stepping up weapons deliveries to Ukraine, Macron admitted that the question of Putin’s medal was “symbolic but important”.
But, while Macron said he believed he had the right to revoke the honor, he added: “It is not a decision that I made today.”
These decisions, he said, “are always meaningful and I think you have to appreciate the right moment to make them”.