Sarkozy’s Ukraine Comments Spark Outrage in Kyiv and Paris

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Nicolas Sarkozy, France’s former president, has caused a storm of controversy in both Kyiv and Paris with his remarks suggesting that the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine could potentially be resolved through new referendums in the occupied territories. Speaking to Le Figaro, Sarkozy proposed that Ukrainians might have the choice between “a frozen conflict” or internationally supervised referendums to resolve the situation.

Sarkozy’s comments particularly focused on Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014. He stressed that returning to the situation before the annexation was unrealistic and suggested that a “incontestable referendum” might be necessary to solidify the current status quo.

The former French leader emphasized the importance of diplomacy in dealing with the Russian leadership. He referred back to his role in convincing Russian leader Vladimir Putin to withdraw his tanks during the 2008 invasion of Georgia. Sarkozy asserted that dialogue and compromise remained the only viable paths towards a solution.

Sarkozy also stated that Ukraine should maintain its neutrality and should not seek membership in the European Union or NATO. These remarks immediately drew sharp criticism from Kyiv. Mykhailo Podolyak, a senior aide to President Volodymyr Zelensky, condemned Sarkozy’s comments as having a “criminal logic.”

Sarkozy’s statements also faced backlash in France. Julien Bayou, a senior Green Party MP, characterized Sarkozy as a “Russian influencer,” and called the interview “lunatic” and “shocking.” Criticism also arose regarding Sarkozy’s ties to Russia, with an ongoing investigation into his connections with a Russian insurance company and allegations of influence peddling.

Sarkozy’s former intelligence advisor, Jerome Poirot, denounced the ex-president’s words as “shameful.” Poirot questioned Sarkozy’s stance during his presidency, particularly his opposition to Georgia and Ukraine joining NATO in 2008, which did not prevent Russia’s subsequent invasions of these countries. The controversy highlights the complex geopolitical landscape surrounding the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

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