When French President #emmanuel macron shook the hand of U.S. President Donald Trump last week, the tight grip by both leaders caught media’s attention. The 39-year-old said afterward the handshake was not an innocent one, but a moment of truth. With another world leader, Macron’s way to convey the truth was more direct and brutal.

Macron accused two Russian news organizations of releasing #fake news to destroy his campaign. He made the accusation against Sputnik and Russia Today while #Russian President Vladimir Putin was standing beside him in a press conference on Monday at the Versailles Palace.

Organs of influence

The French president described the two media outlets, which are state-run, of functioning as organs of influence in the French election in early May.

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Macron claimed that Sputnik and Russia Today produced fake news about him and his campaign. The two media companies became organs of influence, and their reporters were no longer journalists when the press outlets spread defamatory truths, he said, New York Daily News reported.

When Macron suspected Kremlin was interfering in the country’s election, he banned the two media companies from his campaign headquarters. The massive hacking attack from the two Russian publications allegedly took place on May 5, two days before the election, according to the New York Post.

A Pastebin user named EMLEAKS posted nine gigabytes of data on the document-sharing sites. The bulk of the data were emails from Macron’s campaign. En Marche! (Onwards!), Macron’s political movement, confirmed someone hacked their emails.

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Russian groups that also hacked Hillary Clinton

Besides the Pastebin leaks, another website, WikiLeaks, which posted online emails that were hacked from the Hillary Clinton campaign in 2016, tweeted a link to the hacked emails from Macron’s campaign. Behind these two leaks are Russian groups that are suspected of being behind the fake news in the U.S. elections.

However, after the press conference, Putin denied that Kremlin or the two state-run media outfits tried to influence the election in France that Macron won against Marine Le Pen, his rival from the far-right movement. Like U.S. President Donald Trump whose son-in-law, Jared Kushner, met with Russian officials during the campaign period to ensure victory for the Republican candidate, Le Pen was more direct and met Putin in March at Kremlin. The presidential candidate noted that nationalist sentiments were sweeping through European and American votes in the past months.

Putin, as expected, previously denied that he interfered in the U.S. and French elections. But Russia Today accused Macron of building his electoral campaign on lies about the two state-owned Russian media outlets.