“After all we heard here we realized that Crimea’s return to Russia was a fairly legitimate process,” said Thierry Mariani, one of the prominent members of the Les Républicains party of former French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
“It will take time to change the Europeans’ opinion but I promise that we will let everyone know what is really happening in Crimea. When there are two bells ringing people start to think… The crisis in agriculture caused by the sanctions has already set the people’s minds working,” Thierry Mariani said during a visit to Sevastopol.
Jacques Myard, representing the French Yvelines department, said that differences existing between France and Russia made no sense.
“The situation we have today is senseless and is at odds with the traditionally good relations between our two countries. We must star mending fences fast and build a world based on solidarity. Our shared culture will serve an alternative to conflicts. We have just visited the [Siege of Sevastopol] panorama painted by French artist Franz Roubaud, who considered himself Russian,” Jacques Myard added.
After meeting with Crimean leader Sergei Aksyonov and members of the local legislature in Simferopol, the French delegation spent some time in Yalta before arriving in Sevastopol to meet the local governor and regional MPs.
Crimea rejoined Russia last March following a referendum where more than 96 percent of people voted in favor of reunification.
The decision to hold a referendum was sparked by the refusal to recognize the new coup-imposed government in Kiev as legitimate.
Crimea, which is home to an ethnic majority Russian population, feared that the new leadership would not represent their interests and respect their rights.