12:34 GMT08 April 2020
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    French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen will receive a warm welcome in Crimea after her pledge to recognize it as part of Russia, Crimea’s deputy prime minister suggested Wednesday.

    SIMFEROPO (Sputnik) — Le Pen, the leader of the far-right National Front (FN) party and a frontrunner in the French presidential race, said Tuesday Crimea’s vote to rejoin Russia three years ago should be taken seriously by the UN.

    "People in Crimea would sure be glad to see her," the region’s deputy chief Georgy Muradov told RIA Novosti. "Everyone is welcome here, particularly political figures who take a positive stance on our republic."

    The French presidential contender is expected to make it into the runoff, scheduled for this May, where she looks likely to face conservative rival Francois Fillon.

    Le Pen said Ukraine’s sovereignty of Crimea, which welcomed several delegations of French lawmakers since 2014, was a temporary administrative issue of the Soviet times. The regional has a majority Russian population and voted overwhelmingly to leave Ukraine for Russia in a referendum in March 2014.

    Marie Le Pen, Georgy Muradov, Crimea, Russia
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