French president Emmanuel Macron on Monday called out two Kremlin media outlets for spreading “deceitful propaganda” during the country’s recent election while standing next to Russian leader Vladimir Putin, according to reports.
Speaking about Sputnik and Russia Today, Macon said the two organizations “did not behave like press outlets, but behaved like agents of influence and propaganda” that spread “serious falsehoods.”
“I will never give in to that,” Macron said during a joint news conference with Putin at the Versailles palace near Paris.
Macron’s campaign was the victim of a “massive hacking attack” two days before the May 7 election and the data was uploaded on the web.
Wikileaks, which posted online hacked emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign during last year’s presidential race, tweeted a link to the campaign documents.
Reports blamed the hack on Russian-affiliated groups involved in the theft of the Clinton campaign emails.
Macron banned RT and Sputnik reporters from his campaign headquarters on May 1 claiming that they were spreading “fake news” and trying to undermine his presidential run.
Speaking to the media after their meeting, Putin denied trying to influence the French election.
US intelligence agencies say the Kremlin meddled in the 2016 US presidential election and a number of congressional panels, as well as the FBI and special counsel Robert Mueller, are investigating whether Trump campaign associates colluded with Moscow.
The US spy agencies also say RT and Sputnik were major players in Russia’s attempt to influence the election.
Putin isn’t the first world leader Macron, 39, put the squeeze on in the past week.
Last week at the NATO summit in Brussels he engaged in a white-knuckle handshake with President Trump.
“My handshake with him, it’s not innocent,” Macron told a French newspaper on Sunday, saying he didn’t want to be considered a weakling.
“One must show that you won’t make small concessions, even symbolic ones, but also not over-publicize things, either,” he told the Le Journal du Dimanche.