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In France, Macron faces calls to rescind Vladimir Putin's Legion of Honor medal

French President Emmanuel Macron, left, welcomes Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at the Elysee Palace before a working diner with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2023 in Paris.
Lewis Joly
/
AP
French President Emmanuel Macron, left, welcomes Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at the Elysee Palace before a working diner with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2023 in Paris.

BRUSSELS — Ukraine's wartime leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy has now been bestowed with France's highest medal of honor. But there's a problem: Russian President Vladimir Putin has the same medal.

French President Emmanuel Macron pinned the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor medal on Zelenskyy's chest after the two met in the French presidential palace Thursday, a move Macron said was meant to show France's "immense" recognition for Ukraine's valor since Russia invaded it a year ago.

Some French legislators and activists have called on Macron to rescind Putin's award because of the war.

Macron didn't rule out stripping Putin of the honor bestowed by then-President Jacques Chirac in 2006.

Macron told reporters Friday that such a decision "has serious meaning, and it should be taken at the right moment.'' He noted that he has rescinded the honor in the past.

Macron stripped Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein of his Legion of Honor award in the wake of widespread sexual misconduct allegations against him in 2017. Disgraced cyclist and former Tour de France star Lance Armstrong also had his French Legion of Honor award revoked.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

The Associated Press