Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday denied that Russia intends to influence the upcoming French presidential election by unexpectedly receiving ultra-right candidate Marine Le Pen on a visit to Moscow.
“We do not want to influence events, but we reserve the right to speak with representatives of all political forces, as do our partners even in Europe and the United States,” Putin said.
“Russia attaches great importance to its relations with France, and we try to maintain equal relations with both representatives of the current Government and the opposition,” the Kremlin leader said, according to Russian agencies.
French politics, which heads to the polls in France for the first round of polling on April 23, arrived in Moscow this morning, where it held a meeting with members of the Duma (Lower House of Parliament) and its president, a visit that was announced Just the night before.
But his meeting with the Kremlin leader, a month after the Elysees’ election, was not on the agenda.
“It would be very interesting to exchange views with you on how our bilateral relations are developed and on the situation in Europe. I know that you represent a spectrum of European political forces that is growing quite fast, “Putin said, according to Russian agencies.
For its part, the leader of the National Front said that France and Russia maintain deep cultural, economic and strategic ties.
And he said his “meeting with the Russian president is very important in the face of the global terrorist threat”.
“It would be useful to exchange intelligence between our countries,” he said, referring to international terrorism and the recent London bombing.
Putin, for his part, said that “we all live in the same difficult conditions. We must recognize the reality of this danger and join forces against terrorism, “recalled the incident of this morning in Chechnya, when six members of the Russian National Guard were killed in rejecting a guerrilla incursion.