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French President Emmanuel Macron delivers his New Year wishes to the press at the Elysee Palace in Paris, on Jan. 3, 2018. Photo: Ludovic Marin / AFP / Getty Images

French President Emmanuel Macron's push for a law to battle "fake news" looks like a tough stand against Russia. Macron himself was the victim of a Russian disinformation campaign during last year's election season, and he earned praise for calling the Russian outlets RT and Sputnik "agencies of influence and propaganda" during his first meeting with Putin.

But while Macron has styled himself as a defender of Western democracy, his government has sought closer economic ties with Russia, despite EU and U.S. sanctions and Russia's continued support for the war in Ukraine.

France is already the biggest foreign investor in Russia, where French firms have 170,000 employees and send over $5 billion in exports. Macron seems set to double down on his pivot to Russia in May, when he is expected to launch a renewed economic agenda at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, Russia's Davos.

Why it matters: Economic sanctions are only as strong as the EU block's weakest link, and Macron's overtures to Russia give other nations an excuse to follow suit. But he can't have it both ways: Being tough on Russia for its bad behavior means putting your money where your mouth is.

Alina Polyakova is the David M. Rubenstein Fellow for Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution.

Go deeper

Biden explains justification for Syria strike in letter to Congress

Photo: Chris Kleponis/CNP/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden told congressional leadership in a letter Saturday that this week's airstrike against facilities in Syria linked to Iranian-backed militia groups was consistent with the U.S. right to self-defense.

Why it matters: Some Democrats, including Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), have criticized the Biden administration for the strike and demanded a briefing.

7 hours ago - Health

FDA authorizes Johnson & Johnson's one-shot COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use

Photo: Illustration by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration on Saturday issued an emergency use authorization for Johnson & Johnson's one-shot coronavirus vaccine.

Why it matters: The authorization of a third coronavirus vaccine in the U.S. will help speed up the vaccine rollout across the country, especially since the J&J shot only requires one dose as opposed to Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech's two-shot vaccines.

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios