no grounds to keep Russia sanctions in place – French MPs visiting Crimea

Published on Russia Today RT, July 23, 2015 (incl. two videos).

… “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 … //

… Crimea rejoined Russia last March following a referendum where more than 96 percent of people voted in favor of reunification. The decision to hold a referendum was sparked by the refusal to recognize the new coup-imposed government in Kiev as legitimate. Crimea, which is home to an ethnic majority Russian population, feared that the new leadership would not represent their interests and respect their rights.

Considering Crimea’s decision illegal, the US and EU accused Moscow of annexing the peninsula and imposed economic sanctions on Russia. Following the escalation of violence Donbass, the Western states imposed further sanctions on Russia with Moscow responding with retaliatory restrictions.

Last April, Kiev launched a military operation in the country’s southeast after the Donetsk and Lugansk regions refused to recognize the new administration in Kiev. According to a recent UN report, the conflict has killed nearly 6,500 people, wounded over 16,000 and left 5 million people in need of humanitarian aid in the past year.

On Thursday Mariani told Rossiya’24 news channel that the public opinion in France is gradually shifting in Russia’s favor.

“The public opinion in France is changing step by step,” Mariani said. “We’ve had that story involving the Mistrals and many people in France think it is simply stupid, as a commodity that was promised was not delivered eventually and the contract was disrupted.”

“I think public opinion is making a gradual evolution,” he concluded. “I hope our trip to Russia will speed up this evolution, as the French government will have to give a bigger measure of attention to this opinion at a certain point.”

(full text).

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auf de.wikipedia:

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