The leader of the far-right German AfD party, Frauke Petry, met with senior Russian ultra-nationalist politicians and MPs close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

On the trip to Moscow to which the AfD said was to discuss cooperation between the German and Russian regional assemblies, Frauke Petry's office said she had met Putin confidante Vyacheslav Volodin and his deputy, Pyotr Tolstoy.

Tolstoy is the great-grandson of novelist Leo Tolstoy, and has been accused of spreading pro-Kremlin propaganda on his popular politics programmes.

She also met ultra-nationalist firebrand Vladimir Zhirinovsky, whose Liberal Democrat party is close to Putin's governing United Russia.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned that Russia could attempt to alter the course of the forthcoming parliamentary elections, and the Kremlin has allegedly sought to build ties with far right parties across Europe.

French Front National party leader Marine Le Pen has also built ties with Russian MPs, and the party has received financial support from a Kremlin-linked bank.

Both Petry and Le Pen are frequently given a platform on Kremlin-funded media, including news channel Russia Today.

Petry's party has seen an increase in support in recent elections, campaigning on an anti-immigrant, anti-EU platform.

Recent polls suggest that the party could attract the support of 11% of the electorate in forthcoming federal elections, winning representation on the Bundestag for the first time.