The authorities of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia called the Chinese ambassadors for explanations because of the statements of their colleague. On April 21, Chinese envoy to France Liu Shai expressed doubts about the sovereign status of the post-Soviet states on the air of the French LCI TV channel.
“Even these countries of the former Soviet Union do not have an effective status, as we say, in accordance with international law, because there is no international agreement specifying their status as a sovereign country,” Liu Shai said .
Initially, the journalist asked the ambassador if he considered Crimea to be part of Ukraine, to which he replied that there was no clear answer to this question and that the peninsula was “Russian from the beginning.” When the interlocutor noted that international law considers Crimea to be the territory of Ukraine, Liu Shai made his statement about the sovereignty of the former Soviet republics.
Estonian Foreign Minister Margus Tsahkna confirmed to Delfi that the Foreign Ministry will summon the Chinese ambassador for an explanation. “It is unfortunate that the representative of the PRC holds such views. This position is incomprehensible,” Tsakhkna said. Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics called Liu Shai's remarks "completely unacceptable." “We are awaiting clarification from the Chinese side and a complete refutation of this statement,” the minister wrote on Twitter.
"If anyone is still wondering why the Baltic states don't trust China to 'mediate peace in Ukraine', then here is the Chinese ambassador claiming that Crimea is Russian and our countries' borders have no legal basis," he wrote on Twitter. Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis.
The French Foreign Ministry said they were shocked by the words of the Chinese ambassador, and stressed that they consider the annexation of Crimea illegal. “We underline our full solidarity with all affected allies and partners who have gained their long-awaited independence after decades of oppression,” Bloomberg quoted the ministry as saying.
Ukrainian Ambassador to France Vadim Omelchenko wrote on Twitter that Liu Shai's statement is inconsistent with the position of Beijing, which speaks of "efforts to restore peace in Ukraine based on international law and the purposes and principles of the UN Charter."
The former republics of the USSR, which gained independence in the 1990s, were recognized by other countries and each other and accepted into the UN as sovereign states.