SEVASTOPOL, July 24. /TASS/. Crimea’s return to Russia is legitimate, a delegation of French lawmakers said on Friday after a two-day visit to the Black Sea peninsula.
"After what we have heard, we understood that Crimea’s return to Russia is legitimate. Time is needed to overcome the stereotype impressions of the recent events [Crimea’s return to Russia] but I promise that we’ll bring the real situation in Crimea to the notice of everyone. When two bells ring, people start thinking. The crisis of the agricultural sector has already paved the way for this process," French parliamentary delegation head Thierry Mariani said after visiting the Panorama of the Defense of Sevastopol in 1854-1855.
Member of the French National Assembly Jacques Miyar said confrontation between Russia and France had no sense in the context of both countries’ common history.
"The current situation of confrontation has no sense and does not fit into the common history of Russia and France. It is necessary to start cooperation and build a world of solidarity as quickly as possible. The culture that unites us will be an alternative to conflicts," Miyar said.
"We have visited the Panorama, which was painted by the French artist [Francis Rubo] who considered himself as Russian," the lawmaker said.
The Crimean authorities held a referendum on March 16, 2014 on local residents’ attitude to Crimea’s reunification with Russia. With a record turnout of over 80%, 96.7% of Crimean residents and 95.6% of electors living in the Crimean port city of Sevastopol voted for the Black Sea peninsula’s reintegration into Russia.
The treaty on integrating the Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol into Russia was approved by both houses of the Russian parliament, after which President Vladimir Putin signed a federal law on incorporating two new constituent entities into the Russian Federation.
Ukraine, the United States and the European Union have refused to recognize Crimea as part of Russia, despite the referendum’s convincing results.
Crimea used to be part of Russia from 1784 until 1954 when Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev handed it over to the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in a voluntaristic act. Crimea remained part of independent Ukraine after the USSR collapsed in 1991.