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Le Pen: France, 'Under Influence' Of U.S., Put Sanctions On Russia

France's right-wing party leader Marine Le Pen blamed the United States on May 26 for influencing France to impose sanctions on Russia, in a move which led to Russia's cancellation of the coveted Mistral contract.

Following a meeting with Russian State Duma Chairman Sergei Naryshkin, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Le Pen said France has been "susceptible very much to the United States' influence."

"The U.S. played an important role in the adoption of [the European Union's] sanctions against Russia," said the National Front party leader.

U.S. pressure on France also led to Russia's cancellation of the $1.5 billion contract for Mistral amphibious assault ships and French leaders' refusal to attend Victory Day celebrations in Moscow on May 9, she suggested.

"The decisions that have been made on the Mistrals, the incomprehensible behavior regarding their refusal to take part in the recent commemorative events -- I think this is real obedience to the U.S.'s position," she said.

Le Pen said she hoped "France will regain its freedom of expression and democratic freedom."

Based on reporting by AFP and Interfax