Kremlin ‘respects’ French vote, denies favouring candidate
The Kremlin on Monday said it respected the result of the first round of the French presidential election, and denied favouring any candidate in the polls.
“We respect the choice of the French people. We are in favour of building good and mutually beneficial relations,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, quoted by state-run RIA Novosti news agency.
Russia has been seen as a keen backer of Kremlin-friendly far-right leader Marine Le Pen, who met President Vladimir Putin in a surprise visit to Moscow ahead of the vote.
But Peskov insisted to reporters that Russia did not have a preferred candidate in the election.
“These are incorrect assertions, they are quite primitive,” Peskov said.
“In this case to say that Russia more or less supports one candidate or another would be wrong.”
Pro-European centrist Emmanuel Macron and Le Pen claimed the most votes in the election Sunday to progress to a second round run-off on May 7.
Macron is clear favourite to become France’s youngest president after topping Sunday’s ballot with 23.75 percent of votes, slightly ahead of National Front (FN) leader Le Pen on 21.53 percent, according to final results.