The secure telephone line between Paris and Moscow has been activated fifteen times since December. In Paris, the same protocol is followed each time. At the appointed hour, President Macron and five of his advisors descend on the Salon Doré, the Golden Room, in the Palais de l’Élysée. The secure line is opened, and the exchange begins.

In Paris, it is the same two translators who take turns. Their job is to ensure the fluidity of conversation — its precision. At times, Mr. Macron allows himself to greet President Putin in Russian. There is a familiarity to the exchange, even if the subject matter is tense.

Like his predecessors, Nicolas Sarkozy and François Hollande, Mr. Macron has spent much of his presidency courting the Russian strongman. On Mr. Macron’s accession to the presidency in 2017, Mr. Putin was the first foreign head of state to be invited to the Palace of Versailles.

A year later, in the hallways of the Constantine Palace in St. Petersburg, Mr. Macron urged the Kremlin to turn to Europe. “Russia is an inalienable part of Europe,” said Mr. Macron. Mr. Macron has long believed that Russia is European and must be anchored in the continent — even if Russia appears to believe otherwise.

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