French delegation to Crimea ignores Ukranian authorities

Member of the French National Assembly Thierry Mariani who will head the French delegation during its visit to Crimea, has told reporters about the aims and the agenda of the visit.

The members of the French delegation did not consult with the Ukrainian authorities before the visit to Crimea.

“We arrive in Moscow in the evening on Wednesday, on Thursday we will meet with the State Duma speaker Sergey Naryshkin and then we will head for Yalta and Sevastopol. The agenda includes meetings with the local authorities [including chairman of the Crimean State Council Vladimir Konstantinov, Crimean Prime Minister Sergey Aksyonov and governor of Sevastopol Sergey Menyailo] and the visit will have its ‘French’ part as well.

In Sevastopol we will visit the Alliance Francaise cultural center and the French military cemetery [the burial place of soldiers who perished during the siege of Sevastopol in 1854-1855]. This is the largest French cemetery abroad, somewhat unkempt recently because of the political events,” he added.

Answering a question on whether the members of the delegation consulted with the Ukrainian authorities before the visit, Mariani said, “No, we didn’t. The French Foreign Ministry also said the idea of such a trip would not be supported. But French parliamentarians are free to make decisions. We want to understand how people live there,” the parliamentarian told the Kommersant daily.