The French opposition criticizes Emanuel Macron for "weaponising” the war in Ukraine for electoral purposes. Christian Liewig - Corbis/Getty Images)


Macron ‘weaponising’ Zelensky ahead of European elections, French opposition claims


The French opposition has accused French President Emanuel Macron of “weaponising” Ukraine’s president to help his European Election campaign.

As part of his visit to France to mark the Second World War D-Day landings, Macron invited Volodymyr Zelensky will address French MPs at the National Assembly on June 7.

Controversially, the speech will take place during the election’s voting period, during which Macron’s political opponents will not be allowed to publicly campaign.

The opposition has now denounced what it called an “unplanned visit”, arguing that the speech is merely a vehicle for the French President’s electoral agenda.

“Emmanuel Macron is not so much supporting Ukraine as using it to try and distort the debate,” said Republican election candidate and current MEP François-Xavier Bellamy.

Olivier Marleix, President of the Republican group in the French National Assembly, criticised Macron for allegedly making the body complicit in manipulating the electoral campaign, calling the timing a “shameful” instance of “interference” in electoral democracy.

The de facto leader of the French hard-right National Rally (RN), Marine Le Pen, meanwhile decried the president’s decision to invite Zelensky for June 7 as ”disgraceful”.

“He did it during the presidential campaign and he continues to do it almost to the point of nausea. It’s embarrassing,” she said.

“It’s a desire to manipulate the opinion, a weaponisation on Emmanuel Macron’s part of the conflict in Ukraine, and it’s not respectable.”

The leader of La France Insoumise (LFI), Manon Aubry, echoed Le Pen, saying the timing of the speech showed Macron’s “desire to instrumentalise the war in Ukraine”.

“I disagree with the weaponisation of this conflict for electoral purposes,” Aubry asserted.

The opposition’s accusations are not new; Macron has previously been criticised as having manipulated political events for his own purposes over the European electoral campaign.

He is set to appear on all major French TV channels on June 6 — a date within the election embargo period — to deliver a speech on the state of affairs in France, a move that has also sparked backlash.

Macron’s Renaissance party is currently polling at 16 per cent, significantly behind the RN at around 33 per cent.