Leader of the French far-right National Front (FN) party, Marine Le Pen, has said Russia's annexation of Crimea last year was a result of "major errors" committed by the European Union (EU), as she defended accepting a loan from a Russian bank last year.
Le Pen, who is widely expected to run for president in France in 2017, said the EU contributed to the crisis in Crimea, by legitimising Putin's takeover of the region.
"I believe that the annexation of Crimea was the result of the major errors committed by the EU. The EU contributed to the crisis in Crimea. The EU participated in legitimising a putsch which allowed the inhabitants of Crimea to in reality rejoin Russia, because Crimea is Russia as everyone knows. One should not see it otherwise," Le Pen told CNBC.
Last March, President Vladimir Putin signed a law formalising Russia's takeover of Crimea from Ukraine, despite protest and sanctions from the EU and the U.S.