Vladimir Putin congratulates Emmanuel Macron on French election victory

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Vladimir Putin congratulated Emmanuel Macron on his election victory  (AP)
Vladimir Putin congratulated Emmanuel Macron on his election victory (AP)

Russian president Vladimir Putin has sent his congratulations to Emmanuel Macron following his election victory on Sunday.

“I sincerely wish you success in your state activities, as well as good health and well-being,” Mr Putin told the French leader in a note published by the Kremlin.

Mr Macron has been one of the few Western leaders to keep a diplomatic channel open with Mr Putin following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

He triumphed over far-right challenger Marine Le Pen with 58.5 per cent of the vote on Sunday and vowed to unite a divided country in his victory speech.

EU officials feared a victory for Ms Le Pen would have emboldened Mr Putin as a result of her outspoken admiration for the Russian president and the division it would have caused in the bloc.

Ms Le Pen, who has recognised Crimea as Russian following its annexation in 2014, was forced to soften her pro-Russia stance on the campaign trail following the condemnation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Mr Macron had repeatedly focused his attacks on her links to Moscow.

In a fiery televised debate last week, Mr Macron accused Ms Le Pen of being “dependent on Vladimir Putin” and incapable of “defending French interests”.

Russian media commentators suggested that Ms Le Pen had lost as she had not been vocal enough in her support for Mr Putin.

Zakhar Prilepin, a conservative Russian writer, wrote on Telegram that the National Front leader should have said that she “supports the special operation, would quit NATO, and send the Foreign Legion, Algerian special forces and her own security detail to Belgorod for drills”.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky also passed on his congratulations to Mr Macron.

“Congratulations to Emmanuel Macron. I wish him further success for the good of the people,” he wrote, adding: “I appreciate his support and I am convinced that we are moving forward together towards new common victories. Towards a strong and united Europe!”

Tens of thousands of civilians are believed to have died in Ukraine following the Russian invasion. After failing to capture cities in central Ukraine, the Kremlin has launched a fresh offensive in the eastern Donbas region.

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