Marine Le Pen, the far-right leader of France’s Front National, went against French, British and American state officials by insisting that Russia’s annexation of Crimea is within legal bounds. She noted that the referendum held by the Kremlin clearly show that majority of Crimea’s population agrees with the annexation.
The matter began in February of 2014 when Vladimir Putin ordered Russian military forces to occupy Crimea, a peninsula in the Black Sea that is legally viewed in international law as a part of Ukraine. The annexation immediately caused an uproar in Ukraine, which was then supported by the members of the United Nations.
However, as noted by Le Pen, who is the Front National’s presidential bid for the upcoming election in France in April, U.N. nations have no basis in imposing sanctions on Russia due to this issue since the annexation of Russia is legal.
In defending the actions of the Kremlin, Le Pen cited the referendum enacted by Putin’s government a month after taking Crimea, which saw more than 90 percent of residents voting for the annexation.
“I absolutely disagree that it was an illegal annexation: a referendum was held and residents of Crimea chose to rejoin Russia,” she said according to Independent.
Viewing Crimea as an official territory of Russia, Le Pen then added that other nations have no legal basis to question the referendum.
The Front National leader is not the first official in France to side with Russia in this matter. In 2015 and last year, former Transport Minister Thierry Mariani led a delegation to Crimea to monitor the conditions of the region following the actions by Russian forces.
After the two visit, Mariani voiced out his support for the referendum.
“The referendum on Crimea’s accession to Russia reflected the will of the people,” he said.