France's Le Pen meets Putin in Moscow

Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen

French far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen said Friday "it's now the world of [Vladimir] Putin, the world of Donald Trump", after meeting with the Russian president in Moscow, a reporter for the Guardian said on Twitter.

The National Front Treasurer Wallerand de Saint-Just says the visit has nothing to do with raising funds for Le Pen's campaign, which received €9m (£7.8m) in funding from Czech-Russian Bank OOO in 2014.

Mr Putin added that Ms Le Pen - a nationalist, Eurosceptic candidate with hardline stances on immigration and radical Islam - represents a "European political force that is quickly growing".

Ms Le Pen's visit - her fourth to Russian Federation since 2011 - comes ahead of the two rounds of French presidential elections on 23 April and 7 May. Le Pen has visited Russian Federation several times. "This is a war crime", she said.

"Military conflicts and attempts to evade them considerably cut the financial inflow into the economy and agriculture and that is why desperate youth is sometimes try joining terrorist organizations", she said.

The visit comes after speculation Le Pen may be seeking Russian money for her campaign. "The US is pressing for Ukraine's North Atlantic Treaty Organisation membership and the current Ukrainian government has the same aim", Le Pen said.

A Russia-friendly approach to geopolitics runs in the Le Pen family.

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"I can assure you for 100% that we will not be financed from Russian Federation", he said on Friday morning.

The French politician, who is now at the top of the polls for the first round of the elections, arrived in Moscow early on Friday and met officials from the Duma's global affairs committee.

"As far as the situation in Ukraine is concerned, I have been one of the few politicians in France who have pressed for their own viewpoint on Ukraine, identical to Russia's".

Le Pen has sought to capitalise on the anti-globalisation anger reflected by Brexit and the election of Trump as United States president - both vote results that were welcomed by the Kremlin.

Le Pen has said a referendum on France's membership in the European Union would be called within six months of her election.

With Fillon sinking in the polls, Le Pen's strongest adversary is centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron, a former minister in current President Francois Hollande's government.

The French presidential election is followed by parliamentary elections in June.

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