(INTELLIHUB) — During his meeting with French National Front leader Marine Le Pen at the Kremlin on Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Moscow has no intentions to influence the French elections but reserves the right to meet any French politicians it wishes.
“We attach a lot of importance to our relations with France, trying to maintain smooth relations with both the acting power and the opposition representatives,” Putin said. “We don’t want to influence in any way the events going on [in France], but reserve our right to communicate with all representatives of the country’s political powers, as our partners do in Europe and in the US.”
Putin told Le Pen that she represented “quite a fast-growing element of European political forces.” While “official polls” show that the far-right leader may take the first round of French voting, but lose in the latter run-off, some are suggesting that those polls are underestimating her overall chances of victory.
Ahead of meeting with Putin, Le Pen told Russia’s parliamentary speaker, Vyacheslav Volodin, that she valued close cooperation between the two countries.
“I am in favor of developing relations with Russia in the context of the long history that links our two countries. I’ve pleaded at every level for cooperation between our countries in the fight against terrorism,” she said according to AFP.
Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s spokesman, told reporters on a conference call that Putin and Le Pen had not discussed the possibility of Russia offering any financial help to her political party.