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.