Macron Rejects ‘Ridiculous’ Accusations of Involvement in Moscow Attack

Following Putin’s defense minister’s suggestion that France was complicit in the terrorist assault that killed at least 144 people at an entire Moscow music venue, President Emmanuel Macron has condemned Russia.

Since Paris had “useful information” on the planning and execution of the assault on the Crocus City Hall music hall, French officials had been in touch with their Russian counterparts. A readout from Russia’s defense ministry said that Russia had told France that it hoped French secret services were not engaged in the recent assault on a Moscow concert venue that was claimed by fanatics of the Islamic State group.

As France prepares to host the Olympic Games this summer, defense ministers Sebastien Lecornu and Sergei Shoigu—a longtime ally of Putin—had unusual phone discussions on Thursday. According to Macron, who has “no doubt” about it, Russia will attempt to derail the Olympics. Two years after the invasion of Ukraine, the unusual phone conversations highlighted the distance between Moscow and Europe.

Lecornu informed Shoigu that they were prepared to step up exchanges to battle terrorism. He urged the relevant ministry heads to have technical talks with their Russian counterparts to convey a message of unity and share information about the attack’s planning and origin.

According to Macron, claiming that France or the Ukrainians are behind it is absurd. As a weapon in Russia’s armory, it manipulates information that goes against reality.

Russia and the Kremlin have promoted the falsehood that the assailants had ties to Western countries and Ukraine, a claim that both countries have rejected as ridiculous.

Following the phone conversation between Lecornu and Shoigu, Russia said that readiness for dialogue on Ukraine was noted—a claim that France promptly rejected.

According to experts, the meeting after the tragic assault in Moscow did not signal a shift in policy from Russia or France under President Macron, who has not dismissed the possibility of deploying combat forces to Ukraine.