Chinese Ambassador to France Lu Shaye said on LCI TV channel that Crimea was Russian historically and is so today.
Journalists asked the diplomat which country the peninsula belonged to. Lu Shaye said that Nikita Khrushchev gave the Crimea to Ukraine in 1954.
"It depends how you perceive the problem. There is history. Crimea was originally Russian," Lu Shaye said.
The Chinese Ambassador also added that the countries of the former USSR did not have an actual status under international law, since there is no international treaty that would specify their status as sovereign states.
"In international law, even these ex-Soviet Union countries do not have the status, the effective [status] in international law, because there is no international agreement to materialize their status as a sovereign country,” he said.
Ukrainian officials criticised the ambassador and said that Lu Shaye's remarks came contrary to Beijing's officially declared stance on the Ukrainian conflict.
Josep Borrell, the head of European diplimacy, also criticised Lu Shaye's statements about Crimea and post-Soviet countries.
"The EU can only suppose these declarations do not represent China's official policy,” Borrell said.
According to Le Monde, 80 European parliamentarians wrote a letter calling on French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna to declare the Chinese Ambassador to Paris, Lu Shaye, persona non grata because of his denial of the sovereignty of the countries of the former USSR.
The letter states that Chaillet "publicly confirmed that the former Soviet republics have no valid status in international law, noting that there is no international agreement that can specify their status."
"Aside from representing a profound insult to the history, culture, and fundamental integrity of the nations concerned, the Ambassador's words seek to undermine the core principles upon which predictable diplomatic relations depend. It is not for China — or any other nation — to call into question the sovereignty of others. Sovereignty is not a diplomatic plaything, but the indispensable core of international relations, international law, and the United Nations Charter," the letter said.
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