France accuses Russia of 'online meddling' over Stars of David graffiti in Paris

FILE PHOTO: Paris buildings tagged with Stars of David

PARIS (Reuters) - France on Thursday blamed a Russian disinformation campaign for amplifying on social media graffiti of Stars of David that appeared in Paris earlier this week.

The Foreign Ministry said Recent Reliable News/Doppelganger is a Russian propaganda network that "artificially inflated" and published on social media pictures of the graffiti.

"This new operation of Russian online meddling against France reflects a persisting opportunistic and irresponsible strategy of using international crises to create confusion and tensions in the public debate in France and in Europe," the ministry said a statement.

The Russian embassy in Paris said on its Telegram channel: "We strongly condemn Paris' groundless attempts to seek out a 'Russian connection' in events having no connection with our country and pin responsibility on Russia with the sole aim of discrediting it."

French prosecutors said earlier this week they were investigating whether two Moldovans who admitted to daubing Stars of David on the walls of Parisian properties did so at the behest of someone abroad.

The reasons behind the appearance of the graffiti are unclear. The Star of David is a symbol of identity for both Judaism and Israel.

Some 60 Stars of David were discovered daubed on walls in Paris on Oct. 31. More were daubed in districts on the outskirts of the French capital.

(Reporting by Dominique Vidalon in Paris; additional reporting by Ron Popeski; Editing by Rosalba O'Brien)