Putin meets France's Le Pen in Moscow, says won't interfere in election

French presidential election candidates Francois Fillon Emmanuel Macron Jean Luc Melenchon Marine Le Pen and Benoit Hamon pose before a debate organised by French private TV channel TF1 in Aubervilliers outside Paris France

The sanctions slapped on Russian Federation by the European Union are an absurd diplomacy of threats and blackmail, leader of France's National Front political party, Marine Le Pen, said on Friday at a meeting of Russia's State Duma International Affairs Committee, which invited her to pay a visit to Moscow.

The pair did not discuss the possibility of Russian Federation offering any financial help to her political party, according to Mr Peskov.

Le Pen spoke about lifting the anti-Russian sanctions, and Putin for his part said he would not interfere with the April 23 French presidential elections.

State Duma speaker Vyacheslav Volodin told reporters that Le Pen would visit an exhibition of French Gothic art at the Kremlin. Since 2011, Le Pen has visited Russian Federation four times, including one visit to the annexed region of Crimea.

She said Putin represents a "new vision" of the world.

On March 23, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said allegations that Russian Federation was interfering in electoral processes in France and Germany as "absolutely fictional". While Republican rival Francois Fillon has said he would seek to rebuild ties with Russia, Le Pen has outdone him in calling for close relations.

In addition, Marine Le Pen spoke about the stupidity of sanctions imposed on Russian Federation.

"I think I am probably the one who shares with all these great nations a vision of cooperation and not one of subservience - a hawkish vision that has too often been expressed by the European Union".

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Le Pen has been to Moscow before to talk to MPs, but the Putin meeting was the first of its kind.

Le Pen has sought to capitalise on the anti-globalisation anger reflected by Brexit and the election of Donald Trump as United States president - both votes that were welcomed by the Kremlin.

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

But given her anti-immigrant views and record of defending French colonialism in Africa, the visit didn't go down well with Chadians.

The French presidential election is followed by parliamentary elections in June.

Video: What does far-right leader Le Pen want to do in France?

Kasyanov told EUobserver that Putin was helping Le Pen, and others like her, such as the German anti-EU and far-right politician Frauke Petry, in order to "divide and weaken" the EU.

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