Macron’s headache: Putin’s creating major problems for president and ‘spoiling’ election

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The president has long indulged in a charm offensive with his Russian counterpart. Mr Macron invited the Russian president to his summer residence on the Mediterranean, afterwards Mr Putin thanked Mr Macron’s wife Brigitte with a bouquet of flowers. The French president then said: “I believe in a European Russia.”

He then called for “strategic dialogue” with Russia.

However, a complication has arisen for Mr Macron that could sour relations with Moscow and affect his presidential ambitions.

The complication involves Russian interference in the recent coup d’état in the African nation of Mali.

Russian mercenaries have reportedly helped a military junta take control, which has come into direct conflict with a French peace-keeping mission to the country.

After a military junta staged a coup in Mali and now hold the balance of power.

The military junta who are now in control have expelled the French ambassador.

France has around 4,800 soldiers stationed in Mali and may now have to withdraw because of the fraught relations with the military junta.

It is thought the military junta would not be in power, but for the assistance of the Russian mercenary group.

France’s right-wing presidential candidate Marine Le Pen has claimed that if France has to withdraw its troops it would be deemed a “humiliation” for their soldiers.

This would then extend to a “humiliation” for Mr Macron, and a situation that would affect his approval rating in the coming French presidential elections.

Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg.

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