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France: From Russia with love?

The Christmas tree in front of Notre Dame cathedral in Paris
The Christmas tree in front of Notre Dame cathedral in Paris AP

Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris has a Christmas tree this year thanks to an unusual patron: the Russian government. Amid high tension between Russia and the West over violence in Ukraine, Russia’s ambassador to France says the “tree is a message of peace.” When the rector of Notre Dame told foreign embassies this month that the cathedral needed money for a tree, Russia was the first to offer. “We thought this would be a rather nice present,” Ambassasdor Alexander Orlov said. He wouldn’t say how much it cost and insisted it has nothing to do with politics or a troubled deal to sell a French warship to Russia, stalled because of Ukraine. Still, Notre Dame officials promise to seek a Ukrainian-funded tree next year.

Associated Press

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