Nicolas Sarkozy’s Ukraine comments branded ‘lunatic’ as he defends Putin

The comments made about ‘s illegal invasion of Ukraine by former French President Nicolas Sarkozy were thoroughly welcomed, unsurprisingly, by former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

On the other hand, many in , Ukraine and the rest of Europe were baffled by his plea to Kyiv to concede territories to Moscow and accusations the West had provoked Putin’s invasion while failing to understand Russia’s historic fear of being surrounded by enemies.

Mr Sarkozy, who left office in 2012 but remains an influential figure in France, told the French daily Le Figaro that Russian leader Vladimir Putin is “not irrational” and argued should not have broken off dialogue with his Russian counterpart.

In the interview released to promote the latest volume of his memoir, Mr Sarkozy also said Ukraine should remain neutral rather than join the Western military alliance as well as be Russia in the name of peace.

Branding the possibility of conquering back Crimea , annexed by Moscow in 2014, an “illusion”, he said: “The Ukrainians will want to reconquer what has been unjustly taken from them. But if they can’t manage it completely, the choice will be between a frozen conflict or taking the high road out with referendums strictly overseen by the international community.”

Nicolas Sarkozy

Mr Sarkozy’s comment sent shockwaves through Europe, with many immediately criticising him.

Greens MP Julien Bayou described the interview “lunatic” and “shocking”, adding the former president had made a “terrible mistake” with his words.

Mr Bayou also referred to the ongoing investigation into Mr Sarkozy’s ties to a Russian insurance company on suspicion of influence peddling and concealing crimes, as he claimed: “We understand him better when we know that he has been bought by the Russians.”

Renaissance MEP Nathalie Loiseau also hit out at “the dependence of part of the European political class on the views of Vladimir Putin”.


Mykhailo Podolyak

Another Renaissance party member, Pieyre-Alexandre Anglade MP, reacted to the interview by saying France and the will stand by Ukraine for “as long as necessary”.

And MEP Raphaël Glucksmann, member of centre-left Place Publique, slammed the interview as “pathetic”, adding it “powerfully illustrates the confusion of the French elites about Russia and once again weakens the voice of our nation in Europe”.

Jerôme Poirot, Mr Sarkozy’s ex-intelligence adviser, said the former president’s remarks were proof he had “no perspective on what happened” or “on what he did” during his term in office, referring to the politician’s intervention in the 2008 crisis between Georgia and the Kremlin.

International relations expert François Heisbourg slammed Mr Sarkozy’s “shameful pro-Putin interview”, saying it could “get the former French president into trouble” and “not just politically”.

Outrage was expressed also in Ukraine, with Mykhailo Podolyak, a senior adviser to President Volodymyr Zelensky, saying: “You cannot trade other people’s territories because you are afraid of someone or because you are friends with criminals.”

Ukraine will surely remember how in 2008 Mr Sarkozy and former German Chancellor Angela Merkel opposed to the country’s accession to NATO.

Mr Medvedev, who was Mr Sarkozy’s Russian counterpart between 2008 and 2012, was the main prominent voice to side with the former politician’s words on Ukraine and the conflict, as he praised his “bold and fair statements”.


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