Kiev accuses Sarkozy of complicity in ‘genocide and war’
Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy supposedly “deliberately participated” in organizing “genocide and war,” Mikhail Podoliak, an aide to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, claimed on Thursday. The accusation, posted on X (formerly Twitter) came after the former French leader suggested a diplomatic resolution to the conflict between Moscow and Kiev.
The Ukrainian official blasted Sarkozy’s “fantastic” and “criminal” proposal after the latter suggested resolving the conflict, ongoing for a year and a half now, through a series of referendums under “strict” international control in the four new Russian regions and Crimea. Such a move would allow the territorial disputes between the two neighbors to be settled once and for all and help Europe avoid merely freezing the conflict, he told Paris daily Le Figaro earlier this week.
Podoliak brushed off these suggestions by stating that Sarkozy had no right to “trade other people’s territories.” The presidential aide went on to declare Crimea and Donbass “unconditional territories of Ukraine,” adding that Russia had no right to hold referendums there and that there were “no cultural or linguistic peculiarities” in these regions.
Moscow has repeatedly pointed out the persecution of the Russian-speaking minority in Ukraine, as well as other non-ethnically Ukrainian groups, and also Kiev’s nationalist policies for teaching minority languages in schools.
According to Podoliak, there is just one way to end the ongoing conflict and that is for Russia to “lose.”
Sarkozy was allegedly complicit in what Podoliak called a “years-long crime” of supposedly aiding and abetting Moscow in taking territories Kiev considers its own. In particular, the Ukrainian official accused the former French president of supposedly “encouraging” Moscow to “seize foreign lands” during Russia’s brief war with Georgia in 2008 and after the Maidan coup in Ukraine in 2014.
Sarkozy’s actions “contributed to the beginning of full-scale aggression in Europe and the mass murder of Ukrainians,” Podoliak claimed, adding that the former French leader allegedly “deliberately participated in a criminal conspiracy for Russia’s seizure of Ukrainian territories and subsequent organization of a large-scale genocide and war.”
In 2008, Sarkozy brokered a peace deal between Moscow and Tbilisi. Russian troops were forced to intervene after Georgia launched an attack on the breakaway region of South Ossetia, hoping to overwhelm the Russian peacekeeping battalion stationed there since the 1990s.
In 2015, a year after Crimea voted to join Russia in a referendum in the wake of the Maidan coup, Sarkozy argued that Crimeans cannot be blamed for choosing Moscow over Kiev and called for creating a peacekeeping force to protect the Russian speakers in Ukraine.
In this week’s interview with Le Figaro, Sarkozy called on Europe to recognize that Crimea would likely remain Russian and any step back in this regard “is illusory.” He also said that Russia will remain Europe’s neighbor and that European interests in its relations with Moscow are “not aligned” with those of Washington.