Ordinary German people are increasingly taking a critical attitude toward EU sanctions against Russia, a member of the North Rhine-Westphalia state parliament, Christian Blex, said Tuesday.

A group of German lawmakers from three regional parliaments arrived in Crimea on Saturday and are set to stay there until February 9. The delegation consists of Alternative for Germany (AfD) party members.

“The ordinary people are gradually more critical toward anti-Russia sanctions, and we have seen recently, especially in the eastern German states, that more and more criticism is taking place,” Blex told reporters.

According to the lawmaker, German television generally provides negative information about Crimea.

“It was important for us to give a signal that a new era has begun in Germany, the era of the new party that questions all past deeds of old parties and which is in favor of our country’s interests. Both sanctions and bad relations between our countries do not reflect the interests of Germany,” Blex stressed.

The delegation was impressed by a warm welcome in Crimea and by the fact that Crimeans were optimistic about the future, he added. “We had the opportunity to communicate with ordinary people, everyone was happy with their lives and are pleased with the results of the referendum,” Blex said.

German parliamentarians who visited the Crimea will contribute to the process of lifting Western sanctions against Russia, another member of North Rhine-Westphalia parliament, Roger Beckamp, said.

“There are nine friends of the Crimea here, I say this because during these few days we were able to see the region, we will make efforts to lift the sanctions,” Beckamp said at a meeting with the leadership of the Crimean parliament.

According to him, during the visit, the delegation was particularly impressed by two things. “In addition to your hearty reception, it’s that you yourself decided which country you want to belong to, you have determined your future. The referendum is what you did, this is what we do not have in Germany, and we honestly envy you,” Beckamp emphasized.

The politician also thanked the region’s people for good treatment of the military burial places of German soldiers on the territory of Crimea.

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