A group of French lawmakers pay their respects to soldiers from their country buried at a military cemetery dating back to the 19th century Crimean War.
There is no evidence of military oppression in the region
The unofficial trip to the peninsula by ten members of the opposition Republicans Party has been criticised by France and Ukraine.
Crimea was annexed by Russia in 2014 after a referendum widely held as illegitimate.
Former French Transport Minister Thierry Mariani told reporters there is no evidence of military oppression in the region. “People are not forced to do anything. It takes time for an image to change. We will transmit a different image.”
Thierry Mariani défend l'annexion de la Crimée par la Russie http://t.co/ODo0F88lV8— Le Point (@LePoint) 23 Juillet 2015
Reaction to the trip
Crimea’s pro-Russian leader says the visit proves Western sanctions are ineffective.
The French foreign minister said he was “shocked” by the trip which is “in violation of international law.”
Ukraine has called it “irresponsible” and says it shows a lack of respect for Ukrainian sovereignty.