02:30 GMT +319 June 2019
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    The Swallow's Nest architectural monument on Avrora Cliff of Cape Ai-Todor in the Yalta District of the Crimea.

    'No Occupation!': French Lawmakers Confirm Crimean Residents Live in Peace

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    A group of French lawmakers on a visit to Crimea said they had seen the local population living in peace and dismissed claims of any kind of Russian "occupation" of the Black Sea peninsula.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – One of the 10 parliamentarians said:

    "You always have to come to a place and see what is happening. During these two days, we have seen that there is no occupation, people are free. We have seen that it is a peaceful region, people live in peace."

    The French lawmakers, led by lower-house National Assembly Foreign Affairs Committee member Thierry Mariani, said they had decided to make the trip to Crimea to get a better understanding of what was going in the territory that has recently reunified with Russia.

    On Thursday, Mariani said that the Crimean vote to join Russia in March 2014 may have spared the Black Sea peninsula from a conflict similar to that which is engulfing east Ukraine.

    Since April 2014, the Ukrainian armed forces have been fighting independence supporters in the country's eastern regions. The number of casualties arising from the ongoing hostilities has surpassed 6,500 people, according to UN estimates.

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