Russian President Vladimir Putin wished French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen “good luck” for the upcoming election, a close aide to the National Front candidate said, after the two met in Moscow on Friday.
“He wished her good luck for the presidential election,” Ludovic de Danne, who took part in the meeting, told Reuters from Moscow.
“We felt they understood each other, they were on the same wave length,” he said in a phone interview.
Putin and Le Pen met in the Kremlin and talked for about an hour and a half. They discussed about international affairs, including the fight against terrorism. According to De Danne, Putin and Le Pen did not focus on the French election.
He also said they did not discuss the financing of Le Pen’s campaign. During the meeting, Le Pen expressed her disapproval of Western sanctions against Russia. Le Pen stated that she represents the emerging multi-polar world: “This is Vladimir Putin’s world, Donald Trump’s world in the United States, Mr [Narendra] Modi’s world in India,” she added.
Last week, Le Pen’s main opponent in the election, the pro-European centrist Emmanuel Macron, met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin.
“Mr. Macron is in a competition with Mr. Fillon to be Mrs. Merkel’s top vassal,” said Florian Philippot, Le Pen’s deputy, in response to the meeting.
Le Pen’s links with Russia came under scrutiny after Front National received a loan from a Kremlin-linked bank, but the party rejected the allegations of secret links with Moscow.
The first round of the French presidential election will be held on April 23.