Russia-Ukraine War: Latest Updates – The New York Times

Lu Xie, China’s ambassador to France, 2019. On French television on Friday, post-Soviet countries “have no effective status in international law.”debt…Sebastien Nogier/EPA, via Shutterstock

France summoned Lu Xie, China’s ambassador to Paris, on Monday to explain his controversial comments on French television questioning the sovereignty of post-Soviet nations. The Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania said they would send Chinese envoys to the three countries to discuss the issue.

China’s foreign ministry tried to repair the damage on Monday, insisting it recognize the sovereignty of all former Soviet republics that have declared independence, including Ukraine.

“China respects the sovereignty of former Soviet republics after the dissolution of the Soviet Union,” said ministry spokesman Mao Ning at a press conference in Beijing. On Friday Mr. Asked if Lu’s comments represented official policy, Mrs Mao replied: “What I just said represents the official position of the Chinese government.”

He added: “China’s position on related issues has not changed,” and noted that China was one of the first countries to establish relations with all “related countries” after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Chinese Ambassador to the European Union Mr. Recent rhetorical outbursts by Chinese diplomats, including Lu and Fu Kang, suggest Beijing is still struggling to strike a balance between courting European leaders and supporting Russia. Limitations” partnership. The war in Ukraine has put Beijing in an awkward position: it has refused to condemn Russia’s invasion, while vowing not to militarily assist Russia in its war.

Mr. Lou provoked widespread confusion. He said Crimea was historically Russian and had been ceded to Ukraine. He added: “Even these countries of the former Soviet Union do not have effective status in international law because there is no international treaty specifying their status as sovereign states.”

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In contrast, China’s ambassador to the EU, Fu Kang, told The New York Times in an interview this month that China does not recognize Russia’s Crimea or parts of Ukraine’s eastern Donbass region, and instead recognizes Ukraine within its internationally accepted borders. In line with Ms Mao’s comments on Monday.

But Beijing has not condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine because it understands Russia’s claims to be a defensive war against NATO aggression, and because its government believes the “root causes are more complex” than Western leaders say.

However, Mr. Lu’s comments have caused confusion and anger in Ukraine and the European Union, particularly in Eastern and Central European countries that were under Soviet rule or occupation. The Baltic states, annexed by the Soviet Union after World War II, are particularly sensitive to any suggestion that their sovereignty is questioned.

At a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg on Monday, Lithuania’s Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said that “if the Chinese position has changed on independence, Chinese ambassadors will be asked to remind them that we are not post-Soviet.” countries, but we are countries illegally occupied by the Soviet Union.

Margus Tsahkna, his Estonian counterpart, said he wanted to know “why China has such a position or opinion about the Baltic states,” which are members of the European Union and NATO. Mrs. Mao’s comments were insufficient, he said. “I hope there is an explanation. “We are not satisfied with that announcement,” he said.

EU foreign policy chief Joseph Borrell Fontelles said Mr. Brussels also wants more explanation from Beijing, Mr. Borrell said.

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Jean Asselborn, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Luxembourg, Mr. He called Lu’s comments “wrong” and said efforts were being made to calm things down.

Mr. Lew has been an advocate of a tough-talking style sometimes called “wolf warrior” diplomacy. This is the third time he has been invited to the French Quai d’Orsay in the last three and a half years.

Christopher Buckley Reporting contributed from Taipei, Taiwan. Olivia Wang Research contributed.

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