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France blocks fake website urging 200,000 to step up and fight in Ukraine


France has shut down a fake website that sought to recruit French volunteers to fight in Ukraine.

The hoax website purported to be organising a recruitment drive to enlist 200,000 French citizens.

The French defence ministry swiftly took the website down and blamed a “disinformation campaign”.

The ministry said: “The site is a fake government site and has been reposted by malicious accounts as part of a disinformation campaign.”

The website, shared on social media platforms like X, accurately resembled the French army’s recruitment portal.

The recruitment advert specified that immigrants in France would be given priority to enlist.

It invited potential recruits to contact “unit commander Paul” for information about joining.

One government official inside the defence ministry said the spoof website bore “the hallmarks of a Russian or pro-Russian effort as part of a disinformation campaign claiming that the French army is preparing to send troops to Ukraine”.

The defense ministry and government cyber units are investigating the hoax.

This comes just a month after French President Emmanuel Macron sparked outrage by refusing to rule out the dispatch of Western ground troops to Ukraine.

Mr Macron, who has taken an increasingly hard tone on Russia, argued that Europe had to do all that was needed for a Russian defeat.

French Defence Minister Sébastien Lecornu later tried to clarify that while the deployment of Western combat troops to fight in Ukraine was not on the table, a military presence could include mine clearance and training Ukrainian soldiers on Ukrainian soil.

Officials inside the Elysee Palace claim that Russian disinformation is trying to undermine French public support for Ukraine in its war.

The French government has warned that disinformation attacks from countries like Russia are “likely to intensify” before European elections in June.

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