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French senator: events in Ukraine complicate Europe-Russia relations

July 25, 2015, 13:22 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The French parliamentarian said he regretted that the European Union had refused to recognize the results of a referendum in Crimea last year

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MOSCOW, July 25. /TASS/. Ukraine is a destabilizing factor, which "strongly influences the change of an attitude to Russia for the worse," renowned French parliamentarian Yves Pozzo di Borgo said on Saturday. He made this statement after a delegation of MPs and senators from France completed their two-day visit to Crimea.

The destabilization of the relations now affects the whole of Europe. The Minsk accords on the ceasefire in the Donbass region, which were signed by the leaders of the Normandy format countries comprising Russia, Ukraine, Germany and France have launched a reconciliation process that should be completed by January next year, the French parliamentarian said.

"Then, the warring sides in this conflict - the Kiev authorities and the authorities in the Donbass region will be finally able to find peaceful settlement. If this process is over by January, this will be a key to a review of the relations between the European Union and Russia for the better," the French senator said.

The French parliamentarian said he regretted that the European Union had refused to recognize the results of a referendum in Crimea last year where an overwhelming majority of Crimeans had voted for reuniting with Russia.

"Crimea has become a diplomatic black hole in the EU space," the French MP said.

Pozzo di Borgo said he hoped that the visit by the delegation of French parliamentarians to Crimea "will launch the process that will make it possible for European MPs to send their delegations to Crimea to see with their own eyes that the local situation somewhat differs from what is reported in the European media.

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.

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