30 March, 2017
France's far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen, who wants to become president in the 2017 elections, celebrated Britain's vote to leave the European Union.
She specified in the Le Parisien interview that talks on the euro would come at the end of those negotiations, after Germany's general election in September. "I think he also represents a new vision".
The publicly-declared goal of Ms Le Pen's visit was to meet members of the Russian parliament.
Denying any quid pro quo, the National Front was the only French party to approve Russia's annexation of Crimea, and its officials have regularly called for the lifting of Western sanctions against Russian Federation.
Ms. Le Pen met Mr. Putin hours after a previously announced visit to the Lower House of the Duma, the Russian Parliament. Perhaps they just happened upon each other in the Kremlin.
The campaign's budget has not been set and the party continues looking for money, she noted.
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Fillon on Thursday claimed that Hollande was manipulating the French justice system to discredit political rivals - a charge that Hollande vigorously denied. Le Pen's party reportedly took a €9m (£7.8m) loan from a Moscow-based bank in 2014 and is actively seeking new sources of funding. I asked President Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov whether any Russian banks or financial institutions intend to provide financing for Le Pen's campaign. But shortly thereafter sent out a retraction.
The leader of the National Front (FN) blames the euro for driving up prices, hurting exports and adding to France's already colossal trade deficit.
Le Pen isn't the only candidate who has taken Russian cash. Then earlier this week, the satirical magazine Le Canard Enchain? reported that Fillon had taken $50,000 from a Lebanese businessman to set up a meeting with Putin during a conference that Fillon attended in Russian Federation in 2015. Le Pen called for closer cooperation between the two countries on counter-terrorism.
But given her anti-immigrant views and record of defending French colonialism in Africa, the visit didn't go down well with Chadians.
The FN leader proposes to curb immigration and increase military spending as a way of safeguarding France against future attacks. "True to form, Sputnik's top story Friday led with National Front Treasurer Wallerand de Saint-Just saying "[Putin] certainly doesn't intend to influence the French elections. But those were overshadowed by accusations of Le Pen's xenophobia and racism.
Le Pen has sought to capitalise on the anti-globalisation anger reflected by Brexit and the election of Trump - both results that were welcomed by the Kremlin.