Russian Federation won't interfere in French election - Putin

Mar 28, 2017, 00:49
Russian Federation won't interfere in French election - Putin

Fans cheer for Marine Le Pen, French National Front (FN) political party leader and candidate for French 2017 presidential election, during a political rally in Lille, France, March 26, 2017.

"He wished her good luck for the presidential election", Ludovic de Danne, who took part in the meeting, told Reuters from Moscow.

Potential Russian involvement in western elections has become a more sensitive issue since USA intelligence agencies accused their Russian counterparts of seeking to influence the US election through hacking, something Moscow has denied.

The candidate for president of France Marine Le Pen has stated that the European Union will die and that globalists will be defeated.

"No, no", she said when asked whether her campaign had gotten financial help from Moscow.

Putin added that Le Pen represented a range of political forces that was gaining momentum.

The meeting - which lasted an hour and a half, according to a Le Pen advisor - was not announced this week when the Russian parliament confirmed that she would be meeting with lawmakers Friday.

As the French campaign heats up, Le Pen has been showered with praise on Russian TV, and been an inspiration for nationalist artists.

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"It's the world of Vladimir Putin, it's the world of Donald Trump in the United States, it's the world of Mr (Narendra) Modi in India, and I think that probably I am the one who shares with these great nations a vision of cooperation and not a vision of submission", Le Pen said.

Other French-language Russian media sources have spread unsubstantiated claims that Le Pen's pro-EU rival, Emmanuel Macron, had a gay love affair and that he was an agent of U.S. banks and of Saudi Arabia.

"No", the politician stressed, answering a question if Russian Federation or its banks "were somehow linked to financing" her election campaign and the activities of the National Front.

She also said that Russian Federation and France needed to unite to fight global terrorism, a sentiment later echoed by Putin who has long advocated teaming up with the West to take on the Islamic State group.

Macron's aides claimed in February that Russian groups were interfering with his campaign soon after a spike in social media claims that Macron is gay.

Le Pen said Friday that if she were elected, she would "ponder lifting sanctions" against Russian Federation.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Thursday said Le Pen was not a "populist" but a "realist or anti-globalist" figure. Her father Jean-Marie Le Pen, who is known for his anti-Semitic and racist rhetoric, ran for president five times.