French officials and ex-politicians arrive in annexed Crimea

The Russian media reported that officials from France have arrived in the Crimea. According to the Head of the Crimean Parliament Committee for Sanatorium-Resort Complexes and Tourism, Aleksey Chernyak, their visit is associated with the anniversary of the Crimea’s annexation.

“French politicians led by Thierry Mariani have arrived in the Crimea. The official meeting took place at Simferopol airport,” the Russian news agency RIA Novosti Crimea quotes Chernyak as saying.

According to the Crimean news agency Kryminform, eleven people have arrived in the peninsula so far. Among them are a member of the National Assembly of France, Jean-Claude Bouchet who represents the Vaucluse department, Mayor of Brienne-le-Château Nicolas Dhuicq, Mayor of Biguglia Sauveur Gandolfi-Scheit and honorary members of the French Parliament Michel Voisin and Georges Fenech.

The invited French guests included two journalists: Éléments Magazine reporter Christophe Lafosse and Channel TV Libertés reporter Guillaume Sanjorge. The officials reportedly intend to meet with the Members of the Parliaments of the Crimea and Sevastopol though no other independent sources have confirmed this.

This is not Mariani’s and Dhuicq’s first visit to the annexed peninsula. In Ukraine, the Prosecutor’s Office of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea initiated criminal proceedings against Mariani and other French Parliamentarians in 2016 under Article 332-1 for violating the order not to enter the temporarily occupied territory of the Crimea.

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry noted that visits of foreign politicians to the Crimea do not have official status. In July 2018, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry published a warning to foreign citizens and stateless persons against unauthorized visits to the Crimea.

  Crimea, France, Russia, Sevastopol, Thierry Mariani, Ukrainian Foreign Ministry