A group of French children arrived in the Artek children’s summer camp in Russia’s Crimea despite strong opposition from Ukrainian lobbyists, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
“With the support of Russia’s Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of Education and Science, a group of French children had a vacation at the International Children’s Center Artek (Crimea). The organizers of the vacation have experienced strong pressure exerted through the Ukrainian lobby in France,” the statement reads.
According to the statement, parents of the French children received telephone calls during which “terrible things” were said about the condition of the Artek camp, with some of the parents receiving “recommendations” not to send their children to the Crimean camp for political reasons.
“Despite all the difficulties, a group of 22 children aged between 11 and 16 years, belonging to different strata of French society, was organized,” the statement reads.
According to the foreign ministry, the French group arrived in Artek on August 8 and is set to leave on August 27.
Crimea reunified with Russia after almost 97 percent of those who voted in a local referendum on the issue in 2014 supported the move. Ukraine does not recognize the outcome of the referendum.