Ukrainian officials have berated ex-French president Nicolas Sarkozy after he suggested ways of ending its current conflict with Russia. (Photo by Antoine Gyori/Corbis via Getty Images)


Ukraine furious at ex-French president over peace proposals


Ukrainian officials have berated former French president Nicolas Sarkozy over his suggestions on how to end Kyiv’s current conflict with Russia.

Contained in his new book Le Temps des Combats (The Time of Fighting), Sarkozy insisted that Ukraine “must pledge to remain neutral” in order to secure peace in Eastern Europe, with the former head of state rejecting suggestions Ukraine should become a member of either NATO or the European Union.

His comments have been lambasted by officials from the country, with Ukraine’s Ambassador to France Vadym Omelchenko telling news outlet Ouest France that Sarkozy’s demands were unacceptable.

“I must say that these remarks both in form and substance are not acceptable,” Omelchenko said.

He went on to blame Sarkozy for allowing another one of Russia’s neighbours, Georgia, to lose “30 per cent of its territory” to Moscow in the late 2000s.

The ambassador added that it was “curious” that other calls for Ukraine to cease efforts to join NATO and the EU have recently “been made elsewhere in Europe”, heavily suggesting that some sort of Russian conspiracy may be afoot.

“For us, it is a synchronised communication operation,” he said. “We can see that these remarks coincided with remarks of the same type elsewhere in Europe.”

Omelchenko also recalled Sarkozy’s apparent close “relations” with Russia, suggesting that his recent comments pushing for peace may be motivated by such links.

The former president’s alleged ties to Moscow are well known in France, with law enforcement in the country currently investigating the former centre-right leader for possibly engaging in “influence peddling”.

Authorities are currently looking into whether Sarkozy was involved in “potentially criminal lobbying activities on behalf of Russian oligarchs” during his time working as a “consultant”.

One French media report from earlier this year claimed that the former leader received €300,000 “when he praised, at the end of 2018, the merits of Vladimir Putin during an evening in Moscow” from a fund with ties to Russia.