03:24 GMT13 May 2021
Listen Live
    Get short URL

    A group of French lawmakers on a visit to Crimea said they were surprised by the level of happiness among the local population after talking to different residents of the Black Sea peninsula.

    YALTA (Sputnik) – 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 secession. Kiev and its Western allies labeled this move an "annexation."

    "We saw happy people here who live in Crimea and have returned to Russia. We talked to young people. It’s a very different picture from what is shown in our countries. I saw such a warm welcome here. We had a completely different idea about Crimea [before the visit]," one of the 10 lawmakers told journalists after talking to residents of the Crimean city of Yalta.

    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 sense of what is 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.

    The French parliamentarians arrived in Crimea on Thursday and, having met their counterparts in the State Council of Crimea in Semferopol, expressed readiness to discuss mutually beneficial ties with Russia, most notably in the tourist sector.


    Group of EU Parliamentarians Can Visit Russia in Fall
    Nuclear Buildup in EU: Who Benefits From Aggravating US-Russian Tensions?
    French Lawmakers' Visit to Crimea Proves Sanctions' Failure – Republic Head
    Audacious French MPs Visiting Crimea Get Support From Home Public
    Is Decentralization Path to Find Peace in Ukraine?
    Crimea, Yalta
    Community standardsDiscussion