Marine Le Pen Blames EU for 'New Cold War' with Russia
Marine Le Pen, leader of France's Front National party, has blamed the European Union for starting a new Cold War with Russia that will only serve to hurt all involved.
Speaking in support of Russia during an official visit to Moscow, Le Pen expressed her disappointment at Paris' refusal to allow French MPs to meet State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin due to sanctions.
According to RT, the French politician said: "I am surprised a Cold War on Russia has been declared in the European Union. It is not in line with traditional, friendly relations nor with the economic interests of our country or EU countries and harms future relations."
"Even the threat of sanctions is a counterproductive measure. Decisions can always be reached at the negotiating table – and not by blocking talks."
"Bans tend to only radicalize positions, and all this at a time when we are all looking for a diplomatic solution to the conflict."
She made her comments during a meeting with Speaker Naryshkin, who stressed the importance of ties between France and Russia, and said that those ties had been harmed by "Russophobic, anti-Russia campaigns" from several European countries.
She also called for a policy of Ukrainian federation as a way out of the deadlock over the country, saying that it would be a "wise and carefully weighed" decision to hold referendums in the Ukrainian regions.
Le Pen is the latest figure on the European right to condemn the EU's actions during the Ukraine crisis and speak sympathetically about Russia.
UKIP leader Nigel Farage said that the EU had "blood on its hands" over its handling of the Ukraine crisis during a debate with Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg. He later stood by his comments, saying that the EU had given Ukrainian revolutionaries false hope in thinking it would help them once they had overthrown President Victor Yanukovich.
Dutch politician Geert Wilders and leader of the leader of Austria's Freedom Party, Heinz-Christian Streiche, have also criticised the EU and expressed sympathy for Putin.