'Stupidity of the American Policy'
There are no grounds to keep Russia sanctions in place, said member of the French National Assembly Thierry Mariani, who heads the parliamentary delegation currently on a two-day visit to Crimea.
“As the US is lifting Cuba blockades, I see no reasons for Europe to keep Russia sanctions in place,” Mariani told reporters after speaking at the Crimean Parliament in Simferopol on Thursday. He added that he felt the effect of sanctions as the delegation’s mobile phones stopped operating because European companies refuse to provide service in the area.
The Crimean status referendum held on March 16, 2014 made it possible for the Crimean peninsula to avoid the scenario unfolding in eastern Ukraine, he said. [95.5% voted to rejoin Russia]
Mariani noted that he “observed the devastation and the people’s suffering with horror” while he was visiting war-torn Donbass two months ago.
“We congratulate you that you managed to avoid that,” he said at a meeting with Crimea’s Parliament speaker Vladimir Konstantinov. “We welcome the courage of the Crimean Parliament because it was able to make this decision despite the difficult situation and a great risk of escalation [of tensions],” he added.
He reiterated that the visit of the French delegation aims to understand the situation in Crimea. He added that his first impression was great weather and no military personnel on the streets.
“I’m very happy to be here,” he told the Crimean lawmakers in Russian adding that the visit of the delegation caused an uproar in France.
He said the current visit proves the freedom and independence of the French lawmakers. “Regardless of our political orientation, we adhere to the views of Charles de Gaulle, who believed that above all is the will of the people.”
Konstantinov, in turn, thanked the French delegation for making "a courageous political step" by visiting Crimea. He said that he is “proud” of the fact that the referendum was made possible and that the “lawmakers stood up for protection of their people for the first time for many years."
He added that during those days the Crimean residents "lived through turmoil."
"The outcome of the referendum was a reaction of the whole Crimean community to the events in Ukraine," he said.
"Ukraine was like a boiling pot and the people were frightened of the situation in Kiev. After the funerals of people killed in Kiev, a wave of spontaneous protests swept through Crimea…The task set before the parliament was not to let the protests grow into unconstrained actions. A civil war seemed to be the main threat those days."