By raising for the first time the idea of sending troops to Ukraine, the French leader "has taken a further step toward belligerence," blasted his rival Marine Le Pen, of the far-right Rassemblement National (RN) party. She accused him of "posing an existential risk to 70 million French people, and more particularly to our armed forces already deployed in Eastern Europe."
"You've been waiting for the first opportunity to remind people of your true loyalties [and] "show your true colors," retorted Prime Minister Gabriel Attal, who had left the Paris Agricultural Show to attend the verbal joust. "When you read the investigations that are being carried out, [such as one published by the Washington Post on December 30, showing the RN's persistent links with Moscow], you have to wonder whether Vladimir Putin's troops aren't already in our country," he continued. "I'm talking about you and your troops, Ms. Le Pen."