U.S. troops participate in Latvia's Independence Day military parade in Riga, Latvia, November 18, 2015. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins
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Francois Hollande's decision to meet Vladimir Putin in Moscow next week, the first bilateral visit by an EU leader in six months, may galvanize Kremlin efforts to end its isolation over the Ukraine crisis, but is unlikely to yield a quick fix. Since Russian troops annexed Ukraine's Crimea last March, the Kremlin guest list has been light on Western leaders and heavy on statesmen the West shuns, such as Syria's Bashar Assad or Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe.Hollande's visit, which comes after Islamist gunmen and bombers killed at least 129 people in Paris, including one Russian woman, could change that pattern, even though serious differences over Ukraine and Syria may ultimately limit the scope of what is shaping up to be a tentative rapprochement.With Russia and France engaged in separate, and sometimes contradictory, airstrike campaigns in Syria, Putin Tuesday ordered the Russian navy in the eastern Mediterranean to coordinate with the French navy.At last year's G-20 meeting in Brisbane, Putin flew home early after Western leaders berated him over Ukraine.
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