French far-right leader and presidential candidate Marine Le Pen will on Friday visit Moscow to meet with lawmakers, Russia’s parliament said Thursday.
One month before the French presidential vote, the leader of far-right Front National will meet with the Russian State Duma’s foreign affairs committee, parliamentary spokesman Konstantin Tarasov said.
She will also meet with parliamentary speaker Vyacheslav Volodin, he told AFP.
Her plan to visit Moscow on Friday was confirmed to AFP by her entourage.
Foreign affairs committee head Leonid Slutsky told Russian media Le Pen’s visit stemmed from a “personal invitation”. Her meetings will focus on the “battle against terrorism and questions of French-Russian cooperation,” he said.
Marine Le Pen has visited Moscow on many occasions, enjoying positive Russian state media coverage.
She is among the European politicians who have called for closer ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin and approved of Moscow’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.
In 2014, the Front National received a nine-million-euro ($9.7 million) loan from a Russian commercial bank which later collapsed, fuelling suspicions that Le Pen is on the Kremlin’s payroll.
Her party said at the time that French banks had refused to lend it any money.
Moscow has been accused of seeking to promote anti-EU candidates, including populists, in European elections.
Last year, the Kremlin welcomed both the outcome of Britain’s Brexit referendum and the election of Donald Trump as US president.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Thursday said Le Pen was not a “populist” but a “realist or anti-globalist” figure.
Neo-Nazi arrested by FBI in terror plot before his comrades tried to kill him for being ‘stupid’ and ‘incompetent’: report
On Saturday, CBC News reported that several members of a white supremacist group called The Base have been arrested in Georgia and Wisconsin. This comes one day after another set of raids in Maryland and Delaware that caught Patrik Mathews, a former reservist from Manitoba who crossed into the United States illegally and has been missing for five months after being accused of recruiting for the extremist group.
One new key detail came out about Mathews in an affidavit used to secure the arrest warrants for Mathews' alleged compatriots, according to the CBC: "Although the document suggests the group member believed to be Mathews stayed with a Georgia cell member for months, he is later reportedly characterized as 'incompetent' and 'stupid' and is seen as a liability to the local group. In fact, he eventually becomes a new potential murder target."
WATCH: Trump lawyer Pam Bondi brushes off her meeting with Lev Parnas during NBC grilling
During an interview with NBC News' "Today" on Saturday, Pam Bondi, the former attorney general of Florida and one of the lawyers representing President Donald Trump in impeachment matters, dismissed the photograph released by House Democrats that shows her with indicted Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas.
"Clearly, Lev Parnas liked to take pictures with a lot of people," said Bondi unconcernedly. "He showed up at events pretty much everywhere where Republicans were."
Asked about Trump's relationship with Parnas, she added, "I don't know what that matters, what they're planning on doing with it. We're going to stick to the facts and stick to the law in this case."
Trump will face uphill battle discrediting Parnas after so many other aides ended up in jail: columnist
Writing for The New York Times, columnist Michelle Goldberg pointed out that President Donald Trump could have a difficult time trying to discredit indicted Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas as untrustworthy in his allegations about the Ukraine scheme — because his sleaziness and disrepute is the whole reason that he was so useful to Trump's team in the first place.
"Now that Lev Parnas, a key conspirator in Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani’s plot to shake down Ukraine, is singing, Trump’s defenders are pointing out that he is a disreputable person who can’t be trusted," wrote Goldberg. "'This is a man who is under indictment and who’s actually out on bail. This is a man who owns a company called Fraud Inc.,' the White House press secretary, Stephanie Grisham, said on Fox News, the only network on which she regularly appears. (Parnas's company was actually called Fraud Guarantee, though that’s not any better.)"