The French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen has reiterated her support for Russia's claim on Crimea in a newspaper interview in which she made another decisive tilt towards Moscow, the International Business Times reported.
With three months before France goes to the polls, the Front National leader said she recognised Crimea as being part of Russia and if elected, she would push for a dropping of sanctions against Russia which France had backed simply because it was following German orders.
She told the Russian newspaper, Izvestia, that the referendum in the peninsula in 2014 to become part of Russia showed the "agreement of the people to join Russia".
"Ukraine's ownership of Crimea was just an administrative issue from Soviet times, the peninsula was never Ukrainian," she said.
"I regret that the referendum, organised as a demonstration of the will of the people of the peninsula, was not recognised by the international community and the UN."
Le Pen had made the comments about Crimea on French television earlier in January after which the Ukrainian security service SBU proposed banning her from entering the country for five years.
She described sanctions against Russia as "senseless" and "a pretty stupid method of diplomacy" and that "all countries should show respect for each other, to negotiate on equal terms and to accept a compromise solution acceptable to all".
"We don't have to have a situation whereby the major powers impose their policies on other states, behaving like stubborn children," she told the paper.
Marine Le Pen has been an staunch critic of France and EU foreign policy. She had previously accused the European Union of being responsible for the ongoing chaos in Syria.