FILE - French President Emmanuel Macron conducts a phone call in his office at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, on April 21, 2020.
FILE - French President Emmanuel Macron conducts a phone call in his office at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, on April 21, 2020.

PARIS - France's leader on Thursday called for closer cooperation with Russia as the world struggles against the coronavirus, recalling the joint Allied effort to defeat Nazi Germany that ended 75 years ago.

In a conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin, President Emmanuel Macron expressed "the recognition of the French people" as both countries prepare to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe this week. The Soviet Union played a key role in defeating Nazi Germany, whose forces occupied France.

Despite tensions with Russia over its actions in Ukraine, Macron argued that "this common memory should bring us together." He added that the virus pandemic "makes the construction of peace and stability on the continent and in the rest of the world more necessary than ever," according to a French presidential statement.

While France is starting to reopen as the virus recedes, infections are still rising in Russia.

Macron has increasingly reached out to Russia, even as his relationship with United States President Donald Trump has been strained by trade and other disputes.

Trump also spoke with Putin Thursday, saying the U.S. is ready to provide assistance to any country in need, including Russia, according to the White House.