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French foreign minister warns Russia over election interference

“The French will not accept anyone dictating their (electoral) choices,” Jean-Marc Ayrault tells French newspaper


 
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting of the Presidential Council for Strategic Development and Priority Projects at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia. (Sergei Ilnitsky/Reuters)

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting of the Presidential Council for Strategic Development and Priority Projects at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia. (Sergei Ilnitsky/Reuters)

PARIS – France’s foreign minister is denouncing possible Russian meddling in the French presidential campaign as “unacceptable.”

Jean-Marc Ayrault, in an interview published Sunday in newspaper Journal du Dimanche, said Russia appears to be targeting centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron, while favouring more pro-Russia candidates such as conservative Francois Fillon and nationalist Marine Le Pen.

Macron’s campaign has described hacking attempts that it suspects are linked to Russia, though it’s unclear whether the detected activity was more than routine cybersecurity breaches. The Kremlin has denied involvement.

Ayrault is quoted as saying “this kind of interference in French democratic life is unacceptable….The French will not accept anyone dictating their (electoral) choices.”

The French government is holding an election security meeting Friday to discuss concerns raised by alleged Russian interference in the U.S. presidential campaign.


 

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