Moscow: French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen reaffirmed her view that Crimea should be with Russia after voting to quit Ukraine in a 2014 referendum.
President Emmanuel Macron’s only rival who has made it into the second round of the election, due on April 24, said she did not regret at all her remarks on Crimea’s status that led Ukraine to ban her from entering.
“I did not deny it because they held a referendum. So, I won’t go to Kiev… I don’t regret it at all. Crimea was Ukrainian for 26 years and the rest of the time it was Russian. People in Crimea wanted to rejoin Russia,” she told BFM TV in an interview.
She said she would not go to Russia either until its troops left Ukraine and a peace treaty was signed. She promised to supply conflict-torn Ukraine with both lethal and non-lethal military aid during a campaign speech in Paris earlier in the day.
On NATO and Russia, Le Pen said that the two must rebuild their strategic relationship. She argued that closer ties between Russia and China were not in the interest of France and Europe, but also the United States.
“As soon as the Russian-Ukrainian war is over and settled by a peace treaty I will advocate for a strategic rapprochement between NATO and Russia,” she told the press.
Le Pen reiterated her insistence on France’s independence from Washington within NATO. Americans traditionally play the leading role in the alliance’s command structure, and Le Pen said she would have France quit the military command if she were elected.