Co-Chair of the Association Dialogue Franco-Russe and French lawmaker Thierry Mariani was demoted from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) and dismissed from his position as Vice President of the Group of the European People’s Party at the Council of Europe (EPP-CD).

Thierry Mariani and other French MPs travelled to Crimea at the invitation of Crimean occupation authorities on July 23-24, following which he said that ‘he saw ordinary people there who were happy about the fact that Crimea rejoined Russia’. The French lawmaker detected no human rights violations in Crimea and decided that Crimea is ‘an area where peace and quiet reigns’, so he urged leaders of the Western nations to recognize the fact.

His actions and statements have caused him to lose his position at PACE and be dismissed as Vice President of the Group of the European People’s Party. According to the French lawmaker, the Ukrainian delegation at PACE insisted on his dismissal.

“I find this (dismissal – QHA) absolutely stupid and completely counterproductive. The only way I can respond to this is by travelling to Crimea again,” Mariani said.

It was reported earlier that Ukrainian MP Georgiy Logvinsky proposed that criminal cases be initiated against the French MPs who visited occupied Crimea without authorization of the Ukrainian authorities. According to Logvinsky, that constituted a breach of the territorial integrity of Ukraine.