Sat. Jul 13th, 2024

Macron Accuses Russia of Disinformation Campaign to Undermine Paris Olympics

French President Emmanuel Macron has accused Russia of running a disinformation campaign aimed at undermining the Paris Olympics.

Speaking at the inauguration of a new Olympic swimming center, Macron responded to reporters’ questions regarding Russia’s potential targeting of the Games. He affirmed, “Without a doubt,” highlighting Russia’s activities in the realm of information warfare.

Macron stated that Russia is spreading stories daily to suggest that the Paris Olympics are at risk, employing fake accounts on social media to disseminate rumors and disinformation.

The French government has observed an escalation in Russian propaganda attacks on France, particularly following Macron’s shift to a more assertive stance on the Ukraine conflict, no longer ruling out the possibility of eventually deploying French troops to support Kyiv.

France suspects Russian intelligence involvement in incidents such as the daubing of Israeli Stars of David on Parisian walls after the October 7 Hamas attacks, seen as an attempt to sow divisions within France.

A network of Russian-created websites, known as Portal Kombat, has been accused of spreading false stories, including claims of French mercenaries serving in Ukraine and allegations of Macron canceling a trip to Kyiv due to assassination fears.

In response to the Crocus City Hall terrorist attack near Moscow, Macron disclosed a rare telephone exchange between French and Russian defense ministers, aimed at sharing intelligence related to the alleged attackers from the Afghan section of the Islamic State group.

French Defence Minister Sebastien Lecornu expressed concerns about Russian claims implicating Kyiv in the Crocus City Hall attack, emphasizing the lack of evidence. However, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu suggested French involvement in the incident, attributing actions of the Kyiv regime to Western influence.

Macron dismissed Shoigu’s remarks as “bizarre and menacing” and reiterated French readiness to counter any threats, including potential terrorist activities targeting the Olympics.

Regarding the opening ceremony of the Games scheduled for July 26, Macron confirmed the existence of alternative plans in case of worsening terrorist threats. While the current plan involves hosting the ceremony on boats in the river Seine, Macron asserted that backup scenarios are being prepared to address evolving security concerns.

Additionally, Macron voiced support for French-Malian singer Aya Nakamura’s potential participation in the ceremony, defending her right to represent France despite criticism from the hard-right.

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