French MPs: Our Kiev Embassy Lied to us About State of French War Cemetery in Crimea

SEVASTOPOL, July 24 (TASS) – The French embassy in Kiev, Ukraine, has spread lies about the French military cemetery in Sevastopol, which it described to be in miserable condition, and Russia’s plans to launch real estate development projects in its territory, Russian State Duma Deputy Leonid Slutsky told TASS on Friday.

“The French have been misinformed,” Slutsky, who is the head of the Russian State Duma Committee for CIS Affairs, Eurasian Integration and Links with Compatriots residing abroad and coordinator of a deputy group for links with the French parliament, said. He clarified that the French embassy in Kiev had got the false information from Ukrainian authorities.

“These are outright lies and a clear provocation, and our French guests will certainly make this fact public when they return home,” Slutsky added. “All of them have seen that the cemetery is in the ideal condition. Indeed, it’s not in the tradition of Orthodox people to build houses on bones,” the Russian deputy stressed.

Earlier on Friday, the delegation of the French lawmakers who have paid a two-day visit to Crimea, laid wreaths at the memorial to French soldiers located in the territory of a military cemetery in Sevastopol. The delegation’s head, Thierry Mariani, described the provision of false information about the memorial’s state as a provocation “unworthy of French diplomacy.”

“What they told us turned out to be wrong. The memorial is not in miserable condition and is not under threat,” Mariani told journalists.

He added that the situation with the French war memorial had proven once again the need of getting firsthand information to get the real picture. “Earlier, we were told about plans to launch a housing development project here. But the local authorities managed to convince us in the opposite,” Mariani said.

“I believe that we should preserve this place in an excellent condition, primarily out of respect for the memory of those who gave their lives during the battles for Crimea during a (1854-1856) military conflict. It is a common episode in the military histories of Russian and France which should definitely be remembered,” the French lawmaker stressed.

He said that many French war veterans were worried about the memorial’s fate. “I think that now we can tell them with clear conscience that it (memorial) is in excellent condition,” Mariani concluded.

During his talks with Sergey Aksyonov, the head of Crimea, the day before, Mariani shared his concerns about the state of the French war memorial on the peninsula in view of plans to develop this piece of land. “I know that the burial ground (the French military memorial) has come under certain threat, and I strongly wish if it could be preserved in a good state,” he said.

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