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Ukrainian ambassador to France, Estonia FM outraged by Chinese ambassador's comment on former Soviet countries
Ukraine's ambassador to France, Vadym Omelchenko, called out the Chinese ambassador to France Lu Shaye's statement denying sovereignty to post-Soviet countries, including Ukraine.
Omelchenko wrote on Twitter on April 22 that there were "obvious problems with geography" and that Shaye's statement contradicted China's official position "on efforts to restore peace in Ukraine on the basis of international law and the purposes and principles of the UN Charter."
Estonia's Foreign Ministry summoned China's ambassador to Estonia to clarify the country's position over Estonia's sovereignty, calling Shaye's position "incomprehensible."
Earlier on April 21, in an interview with the French television channel LCI, Shaye said that former Soviet countries "have no effective status in international law."
“In international law, even these ex-Soviet Union countries do not have the effective status because there is no international agreement to materialize their status of a sovereign country,” he said.
“He denies the very existence of countries like Ukraine, Lithuania, Estonia, Kazakhstan, etc.,” Antoine Bondaz, a China expert at the Paris-based think-tank Foundation for Strategic Research, wrote on Twitter.
When asked whether he thinks Russian-occupied Crimea belongs to Ukraine, Shaye said that "it depends on how you perceive the problem," adding that "it's not that simple." He also said Crimea was "Russian at the beginning," without specifying what he meant by beginning.
China hasn't denounced Russia's brutal aggression against Ukraine since February 2022, claiming that it has a neutral stance on the war.
However, in March, Chinese President Xi Jinping signed an agreement with Russian President Vladimir Putin to open a “new era” of bilateral cooperation.
“We signed a statement on deepening the strategic partnership and bilateral ties, which are entering a new era,” Xi said during his official visit to Moscow.
Despite the public signs of rapprochement between Russia and China, China’s Ambassador to the European Union, Fu Cong, downplayed the Russo-Chinese partnership.
Fu said that his homeland was not on Russia’s side of the war. The Chinese ambassador added that the relationship between Beijing and Moscow has been “deliberately misinterpreted.”
He also has refuted the statement of U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken from February this year that China was considering supplying Russia with weapons.
However, in March, the U.S. government confirmed that Chinese ammunition had been used in Ukraine, likely fired by the Russian forces.