Russia announced that French politician Marine Le Pen and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would visit annexed Crimea and take part in economic forum in Yalta as guests of honor.
"The honorary delegations at the fifth Yalta International Economic Forum will be the French delegation headed by Marine Le Pen and the delegation of the Syrian Arab Republic headed by Bashar al-Assad. Sergey Aksyonov invited him [Assad] when we were there [in Syria] and got confirmation of his visit,” TASS agency cites the Co-Chairman of the Organizing Committee of the Forum, Andrey Nazarov as saying.
The YIEF forum in Yalta that separatists started is held by the Russian authorities in place of Ukrainian Yalta European Strategy forum (YES) will take place on April 17 to 20.
Recently, former French Deputy Thierry Mariani joined Le Pen’s National Rally Party. Mariani has visited Russian-annexed Crimea several times.
In autumn of 2018, Assad hosted the head of the Russian administration of the Crimea, Sergey Aksyonov in Damascus. The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry stated that this visit did irreparable damage to relations between Ukraine and Syria.