PARIS – Far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen will not attend a planned speech by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to the French parliament, she told French radio Monday morning.
After speeches before the US Congress and the German Bundestag, Zelenskyy is expected to address French MPs via video link on Wednesday and will no doubt receive a standing ovation in parliament.
Le Pen, whose party has longstanding ties with Russia, said she didn’t see a need to show support for Zelenskyy. Le Pen cited “previous engagements” to justify her decision not to attend.
“I don’t particularly admire Mr. Zelenskyy,” she continued France info. “I think he’s acting like a head of state and that shouldn’t arouse our admiration, it should be normal behavior.”
“I won’t be there, I have previous commitments that were made a long time ago,” she said. According to her public diary, Le Pen, who is an elected MP, will instead give interviews to the press.
With Parliament suspended just three weeks before the April presidential election, many MPs have left the capital and are busy campaigning in their constituencies.
But Le Pen’s decision not to attend Zelenskyy’s speech shows that the right-wing candidate takes an ambiguous stance on Russia, despite condemning the invasion of Ukraine. Le Pen has also questioned the impact of EU sanctions on Russia, warning that she doesn’t want France to commit “political suicide” over soaring gas and commodity prices.
For years, Le Pen’s party defended the regime of Russian President Vladimir Putin and refused to condemn the annexation of Crimea or the poisoning of opposition leader Alexei Navalny. Le Pen herself has said she admires Putin and wants France to develop closer ties with Russia.
Le Pen insisted on the radio that her National Rally party had shown her support for the Ukrainian people.
“I have repeatedly expressed my solidarity with the Ukrainian people and said that we should give a decent welcome to Ukrainian refugees,” she said, adding that some cities run by the National Assembly provided shelter to refugees.
https://www.politico.eu/article/marine-le-pen-snub-zelenskyy-speech-france-parliament/?utm_source=RSS_Feed&utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=RSS_Syndication Marine Le Pen snubs Zelenskyy's speech to French parliament - POLITICO