Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy has urged the West to stop isolating Russia, and met with Vladimir Putin on an unusual diplomatic foray.

Putin hosted Sarkozy in his Moscow region residence Thursday, insisting that "the world needs Russia." Sarkozy agreed, saying "Russia and Europe have to work together" to end current tensions, particularly in Syria.

Sarkozy's trip and warm relations with Putin have angered some in France who see that as potentially damaging for diplomatic efforts of the current French administration. Sarkozy is hoping to return to the French presidency in 2017.

In a speech to a Moscow university, Sarkozy said, "We should in no way accept a new cold war, as this will be a defeat both for you and us," according to Russian news agencies.