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French ex-National Rally leader Le Pen, once Putin’s ‘friend,’ condemns Russian invasion

Despite her party’s long-standing ties to the Kremlin and her own reputation as “Putin’s friend,” Marine Le Pen criticized Russia’s actions in Ukraine, calling it a “war at the gates of the EU.”
Former leader of the French far-right National Rally Marine Le Pen. Credit: The Independent
French ex-National Rally leader Le Pen, once Putin’s ‘friend,’ condemns Russian invasion

Former leader of the French far-right National Rally Marine Le Pen, who had a long-standing reputation as “Putin’s friend,” unexpectedly criticized Russia for its war against Ukraine during a parliamentary debate.

The National Party leader Marine Le Pen has echoed Kremlin talking points over Ukraine both before and since Russia’s 2022 invasion. Russia reportedly long-runningly interfered in Le Pen’s politics – from party members legitimizing the annexation of Crimea to evidence of Moscow bankrolling her movement’s growth.

Le Pen unexpectedly changed her rhetoric in the last speech from the tribune of the National Assembly, saying on 12 March, “By invading Ukraine on 24 February 2022, Russia launched a war at the gates of the EU and a geopolitical crisis that is undoubtedly the most dramatic of the last twenty years.”

She recalled the thousands killed and injured, the millions of people who had to flee their cities and villages. “We owe respect and support to the Ukrainian nation that has suffered aggression… It is thanks to the heroic resistance of the Ukrainian people that Russia has suffered a defeat,” Marine Le Pen stated.

Le Pen also criticized the words of President Emmanuel Macron, who did not rule out the potential presence of Western-allied troops on Ukrainian territory in the future.

“By causing a wave of objections from many capitals to send troops, Macron, unfortunately, ended up adding confidence to Vladimir Putin,” Marine Le Pen said, adding that “the best strategic ambiguity is silence.”

French President Emmanuel Macron suggested on 26 February that sending Western troops to Ukraine is still possible.

However, after a flood of international reactions triggered by his remarks, Macron clarified on 4 March that France does not plan to send its troops to Ukraine in the “near future.”

This does not mean that we are considering sending French troops to Ukraine in the near future, but that we are opening the debate and thinking about everything that can be done to support Ukraine, especially on Ukrainian territory.

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