Chinese Ambassador in Paris Raises Concerns over the ‘Sovereign Status’ of Former Soviet Nations (Live Coverage)

France expressed concern on Sunday as China’s ambassador to Paris raised doubts about the sovereignty of former Soviet states like Ukraine during an interview on French television. This comes as Russia advances in western districts of the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut. Follow our live blog for updates on the situation. (All times are Paris time, GMT+2).

5:06pm: Former Russian president Dmitry Medvedev warns that if the G7 countries ban exports to Russia, Moscow will respond by terminating the Black Sea Grain deal, which enables Ukraine to export vital grain.

The Group of Seven countries are considering a near-total ban on exports to Russia, according to Japan’s Kyodo news agency.

4:46pm: Ukraine condemned comments from China’s ambassador as “absurd” after he questioned the sovereignty of post-Soviet countries. During the interview on Friday, ambassador Lu Shaye suggested that countries that emerged after the Soviet Union’s fall did not legally have the status of sovereign nations. Ukrainian presidential aide Mykhaylo Podolyak said the status of these countries was “enshrined in international law”, adding that it was “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”.

All post-Soviet Union countries have a clear sovereign status enshrined in international law. Except for Russia, which 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…

4:31pm: Latvia’s foreign minister Edgars Rinkevics described comments made by China’s ambassador in France as “completely unacceptable”. He went on to demand an explanation and full retraction.

3:54pm: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned he would “not forgive” the US after Russian journalists were denied visas to accompany him on a visit to UN headquarters in New York.

1:51pm: France and the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania expressed concern after China’s ambassador to Paris questioned the sovereignty of former Soviet countries. Ambassador Lu Shaye suggested that these countries did not have actual status in international law, because there is no international agreement to materialise their sovereign status. A foreign ministry spokesperson for France said on Sunday that its “full solidarity” lies with all its allied countries affected.

1:33pm: Russian forces continue to claim victory in Bakhmut. The defence ministry said that its troops secured two more blocks in Bakhmut’s western districts, with airborne units providing reinforcements to the north and south.

1:24pm: Ukrainian forces are holding out in dire circumstances in Bakhmut, while Russian fighters claimed gains using the paramilitary Wagner Group. As a Ukrainian counteroffensive is expected to intensify fighting in the coming weeks, volunteers seek to convince remaining civilians to evacuate.

On Saturday, Russia expelled more than 20 German diplomats in a “reciprocal” move, according to state media. More than 3,000 people were evacuated, then returned home in the Russian city of Belgorod, which borders Ukraine, after a bomb disposal operation was completed. This followed the accidental dropping of a bomb by a Russian warplane two days earlier.

© France Médias Monde graphic studio

( with AFP, AP and Reuters)

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