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The campaign manager to French presidential frontrunner Emmanuel Macron said his party is under attack from Russian state-owned media outlets which threaten to tamper with the election in May.
Richard Ferrand, the second-in-command to the pro-European candidate, warned about Russian involvement after Mr Macron came under a series of verbal attacks from pundits on Russian media channels.
This follows accusations by US intelligence agencies that Russia interfered in the US presidential election last year, carrying out attacks on the Democratic party’s computers. The Kremlin dismissed the claims as a “witch-hunt”.
Mr Ferrand on Monday condemned the “false news from the Russian media that weighs on democratic life”. He added: “We call on the highest authorities of the [French] state that there is no Russian interference in the campaign.”
Since Mr Macron became the frontrunner for the French presidential election, pundits on some Russian media outlets have attacked him, calling him an “appointee of the global elite” and suggesting Wikileaks founder Julian Assange had compromising information about him.
Former Republican deputy Nicolas Dhuicq also said Mr Macron was being backed by a “very rich, gay lobby” and claimed that Macron was having an extramarital gay affair with radio boss Mathieu Gallet – something which Mr Macron was forced to formally deny last week.
Mr Ferrand said: “Today we must look at the facts: two main media, Russia Today and Sputnik, which belong to the Russian state, are spreading false news,” he said.
He cited a blog which claimed that Mr Macron, during a trip to Lebanon slept “at the expense of the taxpayer” at the French embassy. “What was obviously inaccurate (…), but in the meantime the evil is done.”
He also said that there were “hundreds and even thousands of attacks on our database, on our sites” which “comes from the Russian borders”.