Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy believes that returning Crimea back to Ukraine is an illusion.
In an interview with French newspaper Le Figaro, Sarkozy pointed out that the Crimea had been Russian territory until 1954. Most of those people residing in Crimea identify themselves as Russians, he added.
Sarkozy believes that one should hold a referendum under the supervision of the international community to approve the status of the republic. Similar referenda should be held in Russia's new regions — Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics (DPR and LPR), Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions, he added.
Speaking about the political future of Ukraine, Sarkozy said that he had doubts about Ukraine's EU membership mission. Ukraine is not ready to be part of the European Union, nor does it meet the required criteria for joining the union, the former French president said. Ukraine should remain a neutral state, and there is nothing negative about this status, Sarkozy said.
"Ukraine is a link between the West and the East, and it should remain so (…). One should be consistent and particularly realistic (…). Demanding Ukraine to choose between [Russia and Europe], in my opinion, contradicts the history and geography of this complex region," Nicolas Sarkozy said.
According to Sarkozy, Brussels gives Kyiv false promises that will not be fulfilled. At the same time, Ukraine may receive international security guarantees from Western states without joining the EU, he believes.
Speaking about the conflict in Ukraine, Sarkozy urged the EU to take the path of diplomacy, rather than follow US interests by dragging the conflict out. The European Union can no longer "wage war without entering it," he said adding that Brussels should take decisive measures to extricate from the crisis.
"We must clarify our strategy, especially if the conflict drags on. Diplomacy, discussion, negotiations remain the only way to find an acceptable solution," Nicolas Sarkozy said adding that the crisis in Ukraine could worsen at any moment.
Last year, Nicolas Sarkozy said that the European Commission was primarily an administrative body. Therefore, it was not entirely clear by virtue of which article of European treaties Ursula von der Leyen (EC chairperson) could participate in the decision-making process related to issues of foreign policy and arms procurement, Sarkozy noted.
"The only thing Europeans hear now is more billions for arms procurement. More and more weapons — <…> more and more hostilities … We are dancing on the edge of a volcano," Nicolas Sarkozy said.
Many in Russia reacted painfully to the disappearance of private military company Wagner from the information field