Russia

France hosts Russian and Ukrainian negotiators in bid to defuse crisis

International — Link

High-level meeting brought together representatives of the four countries under the so-called Normandy Format, which has been used repeatedly since Russia's 2014 annexation of the Ukrainian province of Crimea.

Russian prison abuses whistleblower seeks asylum in France

International — Link

Sergey Savelyev, a 31-year-old Belarusian who worked in a prison office while serving a jail term in Russia, when he accessed and copied more than 1,000 videos of physical abuses of prisoners which he gave to Russian human rights group Gulagu.net, has escaped to France where he is seeking asylum.

From Russia with love: remains of missing general return to France

France — Link

An aircraft carrying the coffin of General Charles-Etienne Gudin de la Sablonnière landed at Le Bourget airport on Tuesday afternoon.

France's Champagne producers fizz over Russian 'sparkling wine' law

International — Link

Celebrated Champagne producer Moët Hennessy, part of the LVMH luxury group that includes Veuve Clicquot, Ruinart, Mercier, Krug and Dom Pérignon, threatened to suspend exports to Russia after President Vladimir Putin required all non-Russian producers of bubbly wine to mark their products in Russia as 'sparkling wine', but has now backed down.

Mali: Protesters call for French troops to leave

France — Link

Some demonstrators waved Russian flags and held banners calling for greater cooperation between Mali and Russia.

France demands Kremlin frees returning dissident Alexei Navalny

International — Link

The French government has called for the 'immediate release' of Alexei Navalny, principal opponent of Russian President Vladimir Putin, after he was arrested in Moscow on his return to Russia on Sunday after recovering in Germany from a poisoning attack that nearly killed him.

Kremlin push for ownership of Orthodox church in France

France — Link

Worshippers at Saint-Nicolas-and-Saint-Alexandra’s church in the French Riviera city of Nice, who are descendants of émigrés who fled the 1917 Russian Revolution, say they fear they will be turned out after the Russian Federation asked a French court on Wednesday to declare it as the legal owner of the building.

Senior French army officer held on suspicion of spying for Russia

France — Link

France's defence minister Florence Parly has confirmed that a French army lieutenant-colonel, whose identity was not released, has been arrested for passing secret information to Russia, which reportedly happened as he prepared to leave France to return to his post with NATO's southern command headquarters in Naples. 

France offers EU mediation in Belarus 'including Russia'

International — Link

Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel also discussed growing tensions in the eastern Mediterranean and the coup in Mali, during talks at the French president's retreat in the south of France.

The Online Cold War: foreign hackers and trolls undeterred by virus crisis

France — Investigation

The Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic has not brought a stop to the activities of hackers and trolls bankrolled by various foreign governments, including Russia and China. In some cases hacking attacks have targeted institutions who are in the front line in the battle against the virus. Trolls meanwhile have been extolling the virtues of how authoritarian regimes have handled the health emergency. François Bougon and Matthieu Suc report.

Macron urges EU to renew dialogue with Russia

International — Link

French President Emmanuel Macron, speaking in Germany on the second day of the Munich Security Conference, said sancions slapped on Russia by the European Union for its actions in Ukraine had changed 'absolutely nothing' and, while not proposing their lifting, urged what he said was a more 'credible' approach of re-engaging 'in a strategic dialogue'.

Moscow man: the key role of a French intermediary in Benalla security aide affair

France — Investigation

In the unfolding saga of the Benalla affair, which involves President Emmanuel Macron's sacked security aide Alexandre Benalla, one man played a key role in the shadows. He is French middleman Jean-Louis Haguenauer, the man behind the Russia security contract negotiated by Benalla while the latter was still working as a key aide at the Élysée. Mediapart can reveal how over a period of 30 years Haguenauer cultivated a network of contacts in Russia, including close links with the Russian secret services. Fabrice Arfi, Antton Rouget and Marine Turchi report.

Russia 'tried to spy on France in space' says French minister

France — Link

Defence minister Florence Parly says a Russian spy satellite got close to a Franco-Italian satellite last year and tried to intercept its transmissions.

France national team reach football World Cup final

France — Link

In a tightly fought game on Tuesday, France beat Belgium to earn a place in the World Cup final in Moscow next Sunday to face either England or Croatia who play their semi-final match on Wednesday.

French regulator warns Russian TV on Syria misinformation

France — Link

Conseil Superieur de l’Audiovisuel (CSA) said a programme on Syria had displayed a 'lack of honesty, rigour and diversity of points of view'.