The Daily Telegraph

Putin ‘wishes Le Pen good luck’ ahead of French election

- By Henry Samuel in Paris

VLADIMIR PUTIN is said to have wished Marine Le Pen “good luck” in a surprise meeting between the Russian president and the French far-Right leader a month before she runs in presidenti­al elections.

Ms Le Pen, the Front National leader, will regard the meeting in Moscow as a coup for her foreign policy credential­s after previously failing to arrange meetings with any world leaders bar those from far-Right parties.

Ludovic de Danne, Ms Le Pen’s internatio­nal adviser who took part in the meeting with Mr Putin, told Reuters: “He wished her good luck for the presidenti­al election. We felt they understood each other – they were on the same wavelength.”

Ms Le Pen is polling to reach the runoff in France’s presidenti­al election on May 7 but is predicted to lose to independen­t centrist Emmanuel Macron.

The Russian president said Moscow could meet any French politician it wanted and that Ms Le Pen represente­d “quite a fast-growing element of European political forces”, according to his spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

“Of course I know that the election campaign in France is actively developing,” Mr Putin added.

“We do not want to influence events in any way, but we reserve the right to talk to representa­tives of all the country’s political forces.”

It came despite allegation­s by US intelligen­ce agencies that Russia tried to interfere in the US presidenti­al election to help Donald Trump win.

Russia has denied trying to influence the US vote, and has also dismissed allegation­s that Kremlin-funded media outlets are spreading “fake news” in an attempt to interfere in the French presidenti­al race.

After the meeting, Ms Le Pen said she would reflect on how to swiftly lift European Union sanctions imposed on Russia over the Ukraine crisis if elected. Russia and France should unite to fight global terrorism, she added.

“With Donald Trump to the West, and Vladimir Putin to the East, Marine Le Pen clearly appears to be the least isolated of the presidenti­al candidates,” said Nicolas Bay, Front National’s secretary general.

 ??  ?? Russia’s president Vladimir Putin held a surprise meeting with Marine Le Pen in Moscow
Russia’s president Vladimir Putin held a surprise meeting with Marine Le Pen in Moscow

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom