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    French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron attends a meeting with the media after a session of the Russian-French Council for economic, financial, industrial and trade issues in Moscow, Russia, January 25, 2016

    Paris Condemns Alleged Cyberattacks Against French Presidential Candidate Macron

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    French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault condemned cyberattacks allegedly directed against independent presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron and blamed by his election campaign on Russia.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — On Monday, Richard Ferrand, the general secretary of En Marche! party headed by Macron, said there had been "thousands of attacks against our IT systems, data bases, websites" allegedly originating in Russia. According to Ferrand, the attacks were due to Macron seeking "strong Europe in the face of Russia," while other presidential candidates have a more friendly stance toward Moscow. On Tuesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called the accusations "absurd."

    "It is enough to see to which candidates, Marine Le Pen or Francois Fillon, Russia expresses preferences, while Emmanuel Macron, who seems to be a pro-European candidate, is being targeted by cyberattacks. Such interference in French democratic life is unacceptable," Ayrault said in an interview with Journal du Dimanche published on Saturday.

    Moscow has previously faced accusations from the United States intelligence community over alleged attempts to influence the latest presidential elections. Russian officials have denied all allegations, saying Moscow does not interfere in other states' domestic matters.

    EU Commissioner for the Security Union Julian King said in December that France, Germany and the Netherlands may be subjected to hacking attacks in light of the upcoming elections.

    On Wednesday, French government spokesman Stephane Le Foll said that the government's concerns regarding cyberattacks during the pre-election period were not related specifically to Russia.

    The first round of the French presidential elections is scheduled for April 23, while the run-off is slated for May 7.

    presidential election, presidential campaign, Emmanuel Macron, Jean-Marc Ayrault, United States, France, Russia
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