MOSCOW, Oct. 12 (Xinhua) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday canceled his visit to France scheduled for Oct. 19 after his French counterpart Francois Hollande insisted on putting Syria on their meeting agenda, throwing Russia-France relations into uncertainty.
"The president has decided to cancel the visit, as some of the planned events related to the opening of the Russian cultural and spiritual center and an exhibition, unfortunately, have been dropped from the program," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
However, he added that Putin was ready to visit France "whenever it is convenient for President Hollande."
Putin had been due in Paris on Oct. 19 to inaugurate a spiritual center at a Russian Orthodox church near the Eiffel Tower.
The Kremlin announcement was made after Hollande said France and Russia had a "major disagreement" over Syria, and the Elysee proposed a working meeting only to discuss the Syrian civil war and excluded other topics.
Experts believed that the disagreement over Syria between Paris and Moscow has been growing over the last several months, and Putin's cancellation was a culmination of that divergence.
On Saturday, Russia vetoed a draft French resolution on Syria at the United Nations (UN) Security Council, and offered its own draft which was also blocked by France, the United States and Britain.
Analysts said the Russian veto was another message to the west that any move to support the radical rebels is unacceptable.
"If it wasn't for the Russian veto, the Western powers would have repeated their hegemony and irresponsible actions, which we have seen in Iraq and Libya, they wanted to create a no-fly zone to support the rebels on ground, and prevent the Syrian government from dislodging the insurgents out of eastern Aleppo," Ahmad al-Ashkar, a journalist and political analyst, told Xinhua.
Dozens of militants with the Islamic State were killed Tuesday by a Syrian air strike in the northern province of Aleppo, Syria's national TV reported. Adding that Saudi IS commanders were among those killed in the cave strike.
The Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj.-Gen. Igor Konashenkov on Monday listed points of progress as a result of Russia's actions in Syria, including over 1,000 liberated settlements, huge areas freed from the Islamic State, and thousands of tons of humanitarian aid delivered to the needy.
"It is necessary to have a dialogue with Russia, but it must be firm and frank, otherwise it has no place and it is a sham negotiation," Hollande said in a speech on Tuesday at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, adding that he was "ready to meet President Putin at any moment" if they "can make progress on peace, stop the bombing and declare a truce."
Also on Tuesday, French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said that France remains open for talks with Russia, and the cancellation of Putin's visit to Paris did not mean that the two sides would never hold discussions again.
Putin could still meet Hollande at a Berlin meeting on the Ukraine crisis. The leaders of France, Germany and Ukraine in the so-called Normandy format are expected to meet on Oct. 19.
Kremlin spokesman Peskov did not confirm Putin's participation in the meeting. He only said that Russia was preparing to participate in such a meeting and will announce its date and time "as soon as we are ready."