08:58 GMT17 June 2021
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    Richard Ferrand, the general secretary of French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron's En Marche! (Forward) party, became a purveyor of fake news by groundlessly accusing the Sputnik international news agency and the RT broadcaster of the same wrongdoing, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Wednesday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — On Monday, Ferrand told French media that the two outlets "spread fake news", which are later "used, quoted and influence our democratic life." He also cited an example of a news article from a blog, entirely unrelated to RT or Sputnik, which published what he called incorrect information on Macron staying at the French embassy in Lebanon at the expense of the taxpayers.

    "The news that was cited by Ferrand have no relation to the media outlets which he spoke of. Ferrand became a purveyor of fake news himself," Zakharova said at a briefing.

    On Tuesday, both Sputnik and RT issued statements rejecting and condemning the "appalling" claims. Sputnik stressed that it always covers facts and real opinions expressed by people involved in election campaigns regardless of whether anyone finds these unacceptable.

    Ferrand also said that his party was subjected to numerous cyberattacks emanating from Russia as party candidate Macron wanted a "strong Europe in the face of Russia," unlike his rivals.

    Zakharova recalled that former US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton had made similar accusations against Russia when information compromising her party was leaked. Clinton said Russia was behind cyberattacks which obtained the information. Russia rejected the claims, while the country's President Vladimir Putin stating that the Russian hacking scandal "hysteria" was fomented to distract people from domestic problems.

    "It looks like Macron wants to follow the steps of Hillary Clinton. A very dubious path," Zakharova said.

    The Kremlin has also reacted to claims made by Macron's ally, with Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov calling these accusations "absurd" and also drawing a parallel with the 2016 US Russian hacking scandal. The spokesman added that Sputnik and RT have not run any negative stories about Macron and Ferrand's words appeared to be a mantra.

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    Tags:
    fake news, Sputnik, RT, Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, Richard Ferrand, Emmanuel Macron, France, Russia
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