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Crimea hopes French MPs visit will help ‘rectify’ Paris stance on peninsula

July 22, 2015, 18:30 UTC+3 SIMFEROPOL
A delegation of more than 10 members of the French National Assembly and the Senate led by National Assembly deputy Thierry Mariani will arrive for a two-day visit to the Crimean peninsula on Friday
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French National Assembly deputy Thierry Mariani

French National Assembly deputy Thierry Mariani

© ITAR-TASS/Sergei Fadeichev

SIMFEROPOL, July 22. /TASS/. Crimea’s authorities said on Wednesday they hoped French lawmakers visiting Russia’s Black Sea peninsula this week would be able ‘to rectify’ the French leadership’s position on the region’s status.

The peninsula’s deputy prime minister, Dmitry Polonsky, told TASS: "Sooner or later, everyone wakes up to the truth and Europeans understand that there are objective historical processes."

"World politicians come here to see everything for themselves and then, upon returning to their home countries, to finally rectify the position of their countries’ leaders. This is an absolutely objective process," Polonsky said.

He expressed confidence that the French parliamentarians’ visit would serve as another confirmation of Crimea’s status as part of Russia.

"A quite extensive delegation will arrive, and these are not some minor people but acting influential politicians who are playing a big role in France’s life. By coming here, they once again confirm Crimea’s status as an integral part of the Russian Federation, and this means a lot," Polonsky said.

A delegation of more than 10 members of the French National Assembly and the Senate led by National Assembly deputy Thierry Mariani will arrive for a two-day visit to the Crimean peninsula on Friday. During their visit, French lawmakers are due to meet Crimean leader Sergey Aksyonov and chairman of Crimea's State Council Vladimir Konstantinov.

The State Council said on Tuesday that besides holding talks with Aksyonov and Konstantinov, French lawmakers were expected to travel to Crimea’s famous resort city of Yalta on the Black Sea coast, where they would be able to talk with locals and tourists. The programme of the visit also features a trip to Sevastopol, a Russian federal city and home to Russia's Black Sea fleet. Members of the French delegation will see several museums there.

Crimea, where most residents are ethnic Russians, refused to recognize the legitimacy of authorities brought to power amid riots during a coup in Ukraine in February 2014.

In mid-March last year, Crimea rejoined Russia following a referendum. More than 82% of the electorate took part in the vote. Over 96% backed splitting from Ukraine and spoke in favour of reuniting with Russia.

Results of the referendum were celebrated by many Crimeans but the vote was widely criticised by Western leaders and at the United Nations.

In the Soviet Union, Crimea was part of Russia until 1954, when Communist Party head Nikita Khrushchev transferred the Crimean region, along with Sevastopol, to Ukraine's jurisdiction as a gift.

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