13:57 GMT28 January 2020
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    UK Member of Parliament Tristram Hunt told Sputnik it will be interesting to find out how the next president of France will impact the European Union’s stance on Russia.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Voters in France will elect a successor to the unpopular Socialist President Francois Hollande in two rounds of voting in April and May 2017. The center-right The Republicans nominee Francois Fillon is expected to face National Front leader Marine Le Pen in the runoff.

    "I think it will be interesting to see what effect the new French Prime Minister has on as it were on Europe well if Fillon wins what the new French President would have on the effect of the European Union’s approach to Russia," Hunt said on Friday.

    During his campaign, Fillon reaffirmed on different occasions that he intended to normalize ties with Russia. He also supported the idea of protecting national sovereignty, engaging in a hardline approach to dealing with suspected Islamic radicals, implementing a stricter immigration policy and advocating against gay marriage.

    Relations between Russia and the West have soured amid the crisis in Ukraine. Brussels, Washington and their allies have introduced several rounds of anti-Russia sanctions over Crimea rejoining Russia in 2014 and over Moscow's alleged involvement in the conflict between the eastern Ukrainian militia and Kiev.

    Russia has repeatedly refuted the allegations, warning that the Western sanctions are counterproductive and undermine global stability.


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