French President Emmanuel Macron and president of the Paris 2024 Olympics Organising Committee Tony Estanguet. GETTY IMAGES

French President Macron warned last Thursday of the danger of Russian disinformation during the Paris Olympics, saying his country was ready for the challenge. "I don't doubt" that the Games will be targeted by Russia, "including in the field of information," Macron said at the inauguration of the Aquatic Centre, the largest sports facility built for next summer's Olympics.  

French officials have long warned about online disinformation campaigns and the risk of cyber attacks. "The Russians feed the idea every day that we can't do this or that, that there's a risk. That's why we have to be strong. Strength, self-confidence, a relationship with the truth, is the power of a democracy and a great nation," he added.

With relations with Russia in a nosedive over the war in Ukraine, Macron's comments, made at an event in Paris to mark the opening of the new Olympic aquatic centre, represent his most explicit recognition yet of foreign threats to the security or smooth running of the Olympic Games, the biggest sporting event to be held in France since the 1998 World Cup.  

The world's most eagerly awaited event is taking place in a complex global context. Russia's war in Ukraine and the conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza are complicating efforts to secure the Olympic Games, which will be held in France from 26 July to 8 September and are expected to attract at least 10 million spectators.   

"The manipulation of information is part of Russia's war arsenal," he stressed. Faced with this threat, Macron assured that maximum vigilance would be maintained. However, he warned that concern should not lead to paralysis. "The best way to avoid risks is to do nothing. But that is not France's project," Macron concluded.