MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Earlier in the day, a group of 10 French lawmakers, led by lower-house National Assembly Foreign Affairs Committee member Thierry Mariani, arrived in Crimea for a four-day visit. The trip to Crimea was preceded by a visit to the Russian capital.
"Indeed, the negotiations on the possible trip are currently underway. I presume that it could happen in the fall. There is a group of some European Parliament lawmakers who would like to come to Moscow to meet with the Russian leadership… in order to demonstrate that the European Parliament does not have a common stance on the issues related to Russia and the sanctions policy," Pushkov was quoted as saying by the Russian News Service radio.
Following the reunification of Crimea with Russia in 2014 and escalation of the Ukrainian crisis later that year, Russia's relations with the West deteriorated.
The European Union condemned the reunification and refused to recognize a referendum in which 96 percent of Crimeans voted in favor of the secession.
The West accused Russia of fueling the conflict between Kiev and local independence supporters in eastern Ukraine. As a punitive measure, the West imposed several rounds of sanctions against Moscow, targeting key sectors of the Russian economy, as well as certain individuals.