Russian spies in clandestine operation kicked out of France on day one of election

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The six Russian agents were “operating under diplomatic cover”, according to the French foreign ministry.

The operation was uncovered on Sunday, which was also the day of the first round of the French presidential election.

The agents have since been declared persona non grata and have been told they will have to leave the country, just a week after France expelled 35 Russian diplomats.

The Foreign Ministry released a statement on Monday: “Following a very long investigation, the General Directorate of Internal Security (DGSI) revealed on Sunday April 10 a clandestine operation carried out by the Russian intelligence services on our territory.

“Six Russian agents operating under diplomatic cover and whose activities proved contrary to our national interests have been declared persona non grata.”

French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin expressed his gratitude to the secret service on Twitter, however no details of the operation have yet been released.

Mr Darmanin wrote: “Remarkable counterintelligence operation. Congratulations to the agents of the DGSI who hindered a network of Russian clandestine agents who were working against our interests.

“The agents involved will have to leave the territory.

“In the shadows, the DGSI watches over our national interests.”

The Russian ambassador in France’s second-in-command has been summoned to “inform him of the reasons for the expulsion”, reported Reuters.

Just last week, the Russian ambassador to France Aleksey Meshkov was summoned by the French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian over a tweet which tried to portray the Bucha massacre as fake.

Mr Le Drian said in a tweet that France would “continue to fight against all Russian manipulation of information about the war in Ukraine”.

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The first round of the French presidential election on Sunday saw the two leading candidates Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen secure the two biggest portions of the vote.

Incumbent President Macron received 27.6 percent of the vote, with Ms Le Pen coming in second with 23.41 percent.

The pair will now face each other in the final round of voting, with France going back to the polls on April 24 to choose their President.

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