- UPDATE - French Politician Says Crimea's Reunification With Russia Was 'Only Possible Option'
UPDATE - French Politician Says Crimea's Reunification With Russia Was 'Only Possible Option'
The mayor of the northern French city of Brienne-le-Chateau, Nicolas Dhuicq, who is currently on a visit to Russia's Crimea as part of the French delegation, expressed the belief on Saturday that the region's reunification with Russia, which happened exactly five years ago, was the "only possible option
Following a change of power in Kiev, which the Crimean peninsula viewed as a coup, people in Crimea voted on March 16, 2014, in a referendum that would determine the future of the region, and over 90 percent of voters chose to rejoin Russia.
Dhuicq told Sputnik that the Crimean Peninsula's return to Russia was "the only possible option to avoid violence."
He stressed that the decision had come as a result of a legitimate referendum.
"This is my sixth time here, and it is always a great pleasure. We can note peace and security of the Crimean residents," Dhuicq added.
Jean-Claude Bouchet, a member of the French National Assembly representing the southern department of Vaucluse, supported Dhuiciq, emphasizing the importance of the fact that it was the people of Crimea who had made the decision to reunite with Russia.
"Five years ago there was a referendum there, and people said: 'We want to rejoin Russia' ... I believe it is a normal logical decision of the people," Bouchet said.
The members of the French delegation held a visit to the memorial to the soldiers who died in the 1853-1856 Crimean War on Saturday, a Sputnik correspondent reported. This memorial, based in Sevastopol, is one of the largest graves of French soldiers abroad. The delegation laid a wreath to the monument and flowers to the mass graves.
The results of the vote and Crimea's subsequent reunification with Russia are viewed by Ukraine and the West as illegitimate. Calling Crimea's joining Russia "annexation," the West imposed a number of sanctions on Russia under various pretexts, including accusing Moscow of sending servicemen to the conflict-struck eastern Ukraine. However, Russia insists that the Crimean vote was administered in accordance with the international law.