People use their smartphones near the Olympic rings that are...

People use their smartphones near the Olympic rings that are displayed on the Eiffel Tower in Paris, June 7, 2024 in Paris. Cybersecurity experts and French officials say Russian disinformation campaigns against France are zeroing in on legislative elections and the Olympic Games which open in Paris at the end of the month. Credit: AP/Aurelien Morissard

PARIS — Photos of blood-red hands on a Holocaust memorial. Caskets at the Eiffel Tower. A fake French military recruitment drive calling for soldiers in Ukraine, and major French news sites improbably registered in an obscure Pacific territory, population 15,000.

All are part of disinformation campaigns orchestrated out of Russia and targeting France, according to French officials and cybersecurity experts in Europe and the United States. France’s legislative elections and the Paris Olympics sent them into overdrive.

More than a dozen reports issued in the past year point to an intensifying effort from Russia to undermine France, particularly the upcoming Games, and President Emmanuel Macron, who is one of Ukraine's most vocal supporters in Europe.

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This story, supported by the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting, is part of an Associated Press series covering threats to democracy in Europe.

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