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Putin’s envoy to Crimea asks French MPs to help Crimeans with Schengen visas

July 23, 2015, 21:58 UTC+3

The fact that European countries refuse to issue Schengen visas to the peninsula's residents is unacceptable, a French parliamentarian responded

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© ITAR-TASS/Alexey Filippov

SIMFEROPOL, July 23. /TASS/. Russian presidential envoy to the Crimean Federal District Oleg Belaventsev told French members of parliament, who arrived on Thursday in the Black Sea peninsula, that European countries refuse to issue Schengen visas to local residents.

"It is unacceptable," said Jacques Myard representing the French Yvelines department.

When asked how these restrictions can be circumvented, he replied half-jokingly: "When filing documents, you may give your address in Moscow and there will be no problems."

Along with this, Yves Pozzo di Borgo, who is a member of the French Senate representing Paris, promised that after returning to France, he would exert maximum efforts for spreading true information about Crimea. He will make attempts to reason with French officials and to assist in solving the issue as soon as possible.

"Our resolutions have a rather big influence," he said. "And after our return, we will meet with our friends and discuss what steps can be undertaken so as to draw European authorities’ attention to the problem. It is the only promise I can make but I definitely will keep it."

Along with this, Belaventsev said that "The Crimeans cannot enter Europe. It is a serious social problem. In Ukraine, Crimeans’ children, for instance, left for European educational institutions. And now a mother cannot go to her child after she presents her passport showing she resides in Crimea."

Belaventsev was confident that the solution could be found.

"This is the problem we cannot settle," he said adding that "but we are solving all domestic problems."

Earlier on Thursday, the delegation of French lawmakers headed by the member of the French National Assembly from the Union for a Popular Movement, Thierry Mariani, who also co-chairs the French-Russian dialogue association, arrived in the Crimean capital of Simferopol. The delegation is planning to have meetings both with local authorities and with common people.

Crimea’s reunification with Russia

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.

On March 11, 2014 Crimea’s Supreme Council and Sevastopol’s city council adopted a declaration announcing independence of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, including the Black Sea naval port of Sevastopol. On March 16 more than 82% of the electorate took part in the referendum, when 96.77% in the Republic of Crimea and 95.6% in Sevastopol backed splitting from Ukraine and spoke in favor of reuniting with Russia.

On March 18, the treaty on Crimea’s reunification with Russia was signed.

Results of the referendum were celebrated by many Crimeans but the vote was widely criticized by Western leaders and at the United Nations that alongside Ukraine refused to recognize the referendum was legitimate.

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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