French far right presidential candidate Le Pen

Melba UnderwoodMar 28, 2017

President Vladimir Putin met French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen as she visited Moscow on Friday, with the Russian leader stressing that the Kremlin does not meddle in France's politics.

Responding to the concerns about Russian Federation attempting to interfere in French elections, Putin said that the Kremlin has no intention of doing so.

Reuters also indicated that the meeting reveals that, despite the controversy of Russia's alleged involvement in the US presidential election, Putin is "not shying away from actions that could influence foreign elections".

Recent opinion polls in France put Ms Le Pen neck-and-neck in the first round with centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron, with Mr Macron slated to win the run-off.

Addressing reporters in a Moscow hotel, she also said she did not discuss financial support for her party with Putin and that the aim of her Russian Federation visit was not to boost her electoral chances.

"I long have spoken for Russian Federation and France to restore their cultural, economic and strategic ties, especially now, when we face a serious terror threat", Le Pen told Putin on Friday.

An Opionway poll released on Friday suggested in a second round May vote both Fillon and Macron would defeat Le Pen.

Gleb Pavlovsky, a political strategist who consulted for Kremlin in the past, said the coverage of the French campaign by Russian television stations reflects Putin's view that nationalist forces will increasingly shape the global agenda.

Paris and Moscow should establish a strategic partnership in counterterrorism and energy spheres, and Le Pen called for comprehensive strategic partnership between Paris and Moscow: "First of all, it is necessary to establish cooperation between France and Russian Federation, both in the field of culture, energy and trade".

The Front National in 2014 received a controversial 9 million euros ($9.7 million) loan from a Russian bank that later went bankrupt.

Le Pen said in Moscow that financial aid to her party had "in no way" been discussed during her meeting with Putin. "But let's not forget who they are, what they do, and the nature of their regime", Macron said.

She said that she had her "own viewpoint on Ukraine, [which is] identical to Russia's".

Read: Will Vladimir Putin Endorse Marine Le Pen?

A Le Pen victory is seen causing such a rapid decline because the anti-European Union candidate has threatened to call a referendum on the euro and re-denominate the nation's debt.

Le Pen's anti-immigration and anti-EU platform appeals to the Kremlin, which has postured as a defender of conservative national values against Western globalization.

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