Why French presidential hopeful Mélenchon is under fire over 'leniency' towards Russia

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Since the start of Russia's war in Ukraine the presidential candidate for the radical left La France Insoumise party, Jean-Luc Mélenchon appears to have changed his tone in relation to the regime in Moscow. He issued a statement condemning the invasion in unequivocal terms. But current events have led to detailed scrutiny of his past and sometimes controversial stances on international relations. In particular, a desire to be “non-aligned” in global political terms has led to claims that Mélenchon – the clear front-runner on the Left in opinion polls - has shown relative lenience towards Vladimir Putin's regime. Pauline Graulle reports.

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His meetings have been overflowing with people, there has not been a single misstep in communication terms for a month and the polls are slowly but surely edging up. But will the war in Ukraine now change the course of Jean-Luc Mélenchon's campaign, ahead of the French presidential elections next month? For the last few days the candidate for the radical-left La France Insoumise party has been at the centre of a major political row, one driven by his direct rivals on the Left. Yannick Jadot, the candidate for the green Europe Écologie-Les Verts (EELV) party, has accused Mélenchon of “indulgence” towards Vladimir Putin's regime while Socialist Party candidate Anne Hidalgo has gone further by talking of his “complicity”.