Russian State Duma lawmaker Leonid Slutsky expressed confidence that more European delegations may follow the French example and visit Crimea peninsula in the future contributing to lifting of “discriminatory” anti-Russia sanctions.
On Friday, a group of French lawmakers headed by Thierry Mariani, a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, started its three-day trip to Crimea, the second visit since last July.
“I am sure that more delegations of the European parliamentarians will be coming soon to Crimea and Sevastopol. These visits will give the world and Europeans the true picture of life in Crimea and Sevastopol. These meetings will certainly contribute to lifting of discriminatory sanctions against Russia, which are a disgrace to the European institutions,” Chairman of the State Duma Committee for the Commonwealth of Independent States and Russian Diaspora, said at a press-conference.
In July 2015, a group of 10 French lawmakers visited Crimea despite domestic and European criticism. The lawmakers said at the time that what they had seen in the region was completely different to how it was usually portrayed in Western media.
The Crimean peninsula seceded from Ukraine and became part of Russia after more than 96 percent of local voters supported the move in a referendum in March 2014. The Western countries, including the EU members, have not recognized the legitimacy of the reunification, and imposed several rounds of sanctions against Russia. Moscow has repeatedly stated that the move fully complied with international law.