France blocks fake Ukraine war recruitment website

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PARIS
French authorities have uncovered a website containing a fake recruitment drive for French volunteers to join the war in Ukraine, the defense ministry said on Thursday.
The site has now been taken down by French services, a government source, who asked not to be named, told AFP without giving further details on the nature of the operation.
The site, which is now inaccessible, said 200,000 French people were invited to “enlist in Ukraine,” with immigrants given priority.
A link to the site — that resembled the French army’s genuine recruitment portal — had been posted on X, formerly Twitter, the French defense ministry said.
“The site is a fake government site,” the ministry said, also on X, “and has been reposted by malevolent accounts as part of a disinformation campaign.”
The ministry did not name any suspects in the website spoof, but a government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the site 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.”
French President Emmanuel Macron angered the Russian leadership last month by hardening his tone on the conflict sparked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, refusing to rule out sending ground troops and insisting Europe had to do all that was needed for a Russian defeat.
Similar recent examples of disinformation posts included pictures of French army convoys wrongly presented as moving toward the Ukrainian border, the official said.
The fake website invited potential recruits to contact “unit commander Paul” for information about joining.
The defense ministry and government cyber units are investigating, ministry staff told AFP.
The French government has recently stepped up efforts to denounce and fight what it says are Russian disinformation and destabilization campaigns aimed at undermining French public support for Ukraine in its war against Russia.