Politics, World, Asia - Pacific

Ukraine criticizes Chinese envoy's 'absurd' statement on former Soviet states

All post-Soviet Union countries have clear sovereign status enshrined in international law, says Ukrainian adviser Mykhailo Podolyak

Burc Eruygur, Riyaz ul Khaliq and Nur Asena Erturk  | 24.04.2023 - Update : 24.04.2023
Ukraine criticizes Chinese envoy's 'absurd' statement on former Soviet states Mykhailo Podolyak, Ukraine’s presidential adviser ( File Photo )


Ukraine has slammed a Chinese envoy's remarks questioning the sovereignty of former Soviet states.

“All post-Soviet Union countries have a clear sovereign status enshrined in international law,” Mykhailo Podolyak, Ukraine’s presidential adviser, said on Twitter on Sunday.

Podolyak claimed that an exception to this was Russia, which he said “fraudulently took a seat in the UN Security Council.”

“It is strange to hear an absurd version of the ‘history of Crimea’ from a representative of a country that is scrupulous about its thousand-year history. If you want to be a major political player, do not parrot the propaganda of Russian outsiders,” he added.

Lu Shaye, China’s ambassador to France, said in an interview to French television on Friday that former Soviet states “don’t have an effective status in international law,” sparking fierce reaction from Baltic states.

Asked whether he thinks Crimea belongs to Ukraine, the ambassador said it "depends on how you perceive the problem," adding that Crimea was "Russian at the beginning."

“Remarks by the Chinese Ambassador in France concerning international law and sovereignty of nations are completely unacceptable,” Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics said on Twitter.

Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said such comments depict “why the Baltic states don’t trust China to ‘broker peace in Ukraine’.”

"The comments by the Chinese representative on independent & sovereign states are false & a misinterpretation of history," tweeted Estonian Foreign Minister Margus Tsahkna.

In February, Beijing published a 12-point peace plan to end Russia’s war on Ukraine, which broke out last year.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell also criticized the Chinese ambassador. "Unacceptable remarks of the Chinese Ambassador to France questioning the sovereignty of the countries which became independent with the end of the Soviet Union in 1991. The EU can only suppose these declarations do not represent China’s official policy," he tweeted on Sunday.

Meanwhile, French daily Le Monde said the ambassador will be summoned to the French Foreign Ministry on Monday.

'No change in policy'

Mao Ning, spokeswoman of China's Foreign Ministry, told reporters in Beijing there was no change in the country's position on former Soviet nations, according to the state-run Global Times newspaper.​​​​​​​

"China's position is consistent and clear ... respects the sovereign independence and territorial integrity of all countries and upholds the purposes and principles of the UN Charter," Mao said, adding: "China respects the status of sovereign states of all republics after the dissolution of the Soviet Union."

She said: "The Soviet Union was a federal state and had the status of a subject of international law as a whole in foreign affairs. This does not deny the fact that after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, each member of the republic has the status of sovereign state."

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