MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The French will elect a successor to Socialist President Francois Hollande in two rounds of voting in April and May 2017. According to the polls, center-right The Republicans’ nominee Francois Fillon is expected to face Le Pen in the runoff.
"Following the referendum, which demonstrated the [Crimean] people's wish to join Russia, I will also recognize Crimea as part of Russia. The belonging of Crimea to Ukraine was just an administrative issue of the Soviet times, Crimea has never been the Ukrainian peninsula," Le Pen told the Russian Izvestia newspaper.
Le Pen expressed regret that the international community and the United Nations had not taken seriously the results of the referendum.
The politician added that she would restore the relations between Russia and France and support the sanctions relief in case of the victory in the presidential election.
Earlier in January, Le Pen told the BFMTV broadcaster that she regarded Crimea as an integral part of Russia and disagreed that it was illegal annexation.
Crimea rejoined Russia after a 2014 referendum. Almost 97 percent of the region's population voted for reunification in a referendum. Sevastopol, which has a federal city status, supported the move by 95.6 percent of votes. Kiev, as well as Brussels, Washington and their allies, did not recognize the move and consider the peninsula to be an occupied territory. The referendum was held after a coup in Ukraine in February 2014.