France has warned Russia against meddling in the upcoming general election
Foreign minister Jean-Marc Ayrault told parliament: "We will not accept any interference whatsoever in our electoral process, no more from Russia by the way than from any other state.
“This is a question of our democracy, our sovereignty, our national independence.”
We will not accept any interference whatsoever in our electoral process, no more from Russia by the way than from any other state
He added France would establish clear protocols, "including retaliatory measures when that is necessary, because no foreign state can influence the choice of the French, no foreign state can choose the future president of the Republic."
"After what happened in the United States, it is our responsibility to take all steps necessary to ensure that the integrity of our democratic process is fully respected.”
Foreign minister Jean-Marc Ayrault delivered the warning in parliament
The warning comes after alleged cyberattacks against centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron suggest the Kremlin could be trying to tilt the election towards rightwing candidates, such as Marine Le Pen or Francois Fillon, who favour closer ties with Russia.
Macron’s spokesman Benjamin Griveaux accused Russia of trying to boost the hopes of Le Pen and Fillon and told reporters: "Half of the attacks, and there are hundreds a day, come from Ukraine, which is known for its links to hackers and people responsible for cyberattacks in Russia.”
Candidates for the 2017 French Presidential Election Mon, January 30, 2017
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Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov hit back at claims Russian agents has meddled in Macron’s campaign.
He said: "We never had, and do not have, the intention of interfering in the domestic affairs of other countries, and especially not in their electoral process.”
Moscow was accused of meddling in the US election in the wake of President Trump’s victory, an accusation which led Obama to expel 35 Russian diplomats in his final few weeks in office.
Centrist candidate Macron is at the centre of allegations of interference in his election campaign
With major elections in the Netherlands, France and Germany later this year, security agencies across Europe have been urged ti step up their security against possible cyberattacks.
Outgoing French president Francois Hollande is set to discuss cyber security at a meeting with national defence chiefs next week, in the hope of seeing whether “specific monitoring and protection measures” should be adopted ahead of the general election.
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