Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry on Wednesday threatened to bar France’s Marine Le Pen, who heads the far-right National Front party, over comments she made concerning Russia’s illegal annexation of the Crimean Peninsula.
“Making statements that repeat Kremlin propaganda, the French politician shows disrespect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and completely ignores the fundamental principles of international law,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
“In this regard, we remind that such statements and actions in violation of the Ukrainian legislation will necessarily have consequences, as it was in the case of certain French politicians, who are denied entry to Ukraine,” it added.
Earlier Wednesday, Le Pen claimed that the 2014 referendum, declared illegal by the UN General Assembly, was not illegal.
“There was a referendum. The citizens of Crimea wanted to join Russia,” Le Pen told French broadcaster BFMTV.
Relations between Ukraine and Russia have soured since Moscow launched a campaign to retake the peninsula, home of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol, in the wake of pro-European protests in Kyiv that pushed pro-Kremlin President Viktor Yanukovych out of office in February 2014.
The annexation of Crimea exasperated hostilities in Ukraine’s eastern regions, prompting pro-Russia rebel forces to launch an insurgency that has left around 10,000 people dead and affected more than half a million children, according to UN figures.