"I regard the visit by French politicians to our country as testimony to the constructive approach – at least among France’s political elite – to promoting relations with Russia and building political dialogue for the sake of bilateral partnership," the speaker said.
Crimea, which has a predominately ethnically-Russian population, split from Ukraine to rejoin Russia in March 2014 after a referendum in which 96 percent backed the reunification. Kiev and its Western allies labeled this move an "annexation."
The French lawmakers said they had decided to make the trip to Crimea to get a sense of what was really going on in the Black Sea peninsula. Both the French and Ukrainian governments have condemned the decision, considering it a breach of international law.