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Russia works to end France's aid to Ukraine - WP

Russia works to end France's aid to Ukraine - WP Photo: Russia is working to end French aid to Ukraine (Getty Images)

Russia has intensified efforts to influence the political environment and society in France with the aim of ending Paris's support for Ukraine, reports The Washington Post.

According to Kremlin documents and interviews with European security officials and far-right political figures, Russia is escalating efforts to undermine support for Ukraine in France.

The Kremlin's maneuvering and connections with various far-right parties across Europe, including in France, are causing concern among European officials ahead of the upcoming European Parliament elections in June. As noted by the EU's chief of foreign affairs, Josep Borrell, the upcoming elections could be "as dangerous as American ones."

According to Kremlin documents, Sergei Kiriyenko, the first deputy chief of Vladimir Putin's administration, instructed Kremlin political technologists to promote political discord in France through social media and French political figures, opinion leaders, and activists.

"Those figures were not identified by name in the documents seen by The Post. Moscow’s goal is to undermine support for Ukraine and weaken NATO resolve, the documents show. The effort parallels similar interference in Germany, where the Kremlin has attempted to marry the far right and the far left in an antiwar alliance," The Washington Post explains.

Among the points that Kremlin strategists aim to reinforce are:

  • Assertions that Western sanctions against Russia have harmed the French economy by reducing trade volumes. They claim that this situation puts the country at risk of the "the deepest social and economic crisis of recent years." This includes the claim that supplying weapons to Ukraine left France defenseless.

  • Claims that aim to increase the number of those in France who do not want to "pay for another country's war." Additionally, they target those who fear a direct war with Russia and the onset of the Third World War.

"The documents show that troll farms created by the Kremlin political strategists produced and published social media content and articles critical of Western support for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s government. One note written by one of the strategists in June 2023 directed a troll farm employee to create a “200-character comment by a middle-aged French person” who considers Europe’s support for Ukraine to be “a stupid adventure,” the publication states.

Limited resonance

So far, Kremlin messages have had limited resonance in France, where President Emmanuel Macron is at the forefront of European efforts to support Ukraine. The majority of the population, in particular, supports the president.

However, as noted by Thomas Gomart, the director of the French Institute of International Relations, the visibility of pro-Russian accounts on social media and the approval ratings of French far-right parties are on the rise.

"Rhetoric from Russia allies about the cost of the Ukraine war is increasingly being combined with the idea that it is an American adventure and that France needs to assert itself as a great power and restore relations with Russia," WP states.

Help for Ukraine from France

Since the widespread invasion of Russia into Ukraine, France has been one of the European countries actively providing financial and military support to our country.

For instance, it was recently announced that Ukrainian Armed Forces pilots will start arriving in France next year for training as part of military assistance.

Notably, a month ago, Paris expressed its intention to allocate an additional 200 million euros to the Ukraine support fund, allowing the Ukrainian army to continue purchasing French equipment.