SEVASTOPOL, May 9. /TASS/. The overwhelming majority of French citizens think that the Mistral helicopter carriers should be finally handed over to Russia, France’s Inspector General for financial matters and leader of the Popular Republican Party Francois Asselineau said on Friday.
The party does not support the France’s official position concerning isolation of Crimea, stands for France’s quitting the European Union and NATO and establishing of closer relations with Russia.
"Our party believes that the Mistrals must be supplied to Russia and, according to public opinion polls, the majority of the French share this opinion. A Latin proverb has it: ‘Pacta sunt servanda,’ or ‘agreements must be kept,’" Asselineau said.
Also, he said sanctions imposed on Russia after reunification with Crimea should be lifted. "France recognized a referendum in South Sudan when American troops were deployed there. It recognized Kosovo’s independence, although there was no referendum there. Crimea had a referendum, which yielded amazing results [almost 97% spoke in favour of joining Russia - TASS]. That is why we are against the policy of sanctions," he said.
The French politician said he saw "people in Crimea are calm and content with the situation." "When back in 1854, French troops came to Sevastopol, they were met here by the Russian army. This city was Russia over its 200-year-long history. I have a feeling Sevastopol has never actually belonged to Ukraine," he said.
He promised that when he was back in France he would tell his fellow countrymen about the real situation in Crimea and would do his best to organize an exchange of winemakers’ delegations, to help organize French-type professional schools and set up a school of children’s diplomacy in Sevastopol. Asselineau also pledged to help take care of the French military cemetery of the period of the Crimean War in Sevastopol and provide assistance to the Alliance Francais society, which was not included into the Russian register by the French government.
The Popular Republican Party won 3.23% of the vote at the latest parliamentary elections.
Crimea had a referendum on reunification with Russia on March 16, 2014. With a record-breaking turnout of 80%, the overwhelming majority of Crimea’s and Sevastopol residents (96.7 and 95.6%, respectively) voted in favour of ceding from Ukraine and joining Russia. After the treaty of Crimea’s and Sevastopol’s reunification with Russia was approved by the Russian parliament, President Vladimir Putin on March 21, 2014 signed a federal law on admitting two new constituent entities in the Russian Federation.
Despite the absolutely convincing results of the referendum, Kiev has been refusing to recognize Crimea as a part of Russia.
Crimea joined the Russian Empire in 1783, when it was conquered by Russian Empress Catherine the Great.
In the Soviet Union, Crimea used to be part of Russia until 1954, when Nikita Khrushchev, the first secretary of the USSR’s Communist Party, transferred it to Ukraine's jurisdiction as a gift.
With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Crimea became part of newly independent Ukraine and remained in that capacity until March 2014, when it reunified with Russia.