China’s foreign ministry spokesperson has clarified that the Chinese government respects the sovereignty of former Soviet Union republics, following controversial comments made by Chinese ambassador to France, Lu Shaye. Speaking in an interview, Lu said that ex-Soviet republics Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania are not sovereign nations, stating that “even these ex-Soviet Union countries…do not have the status that’s effective in international law, because there is no international agreement to solidify their status as a sovereign country.” The Chinese embassy in France issued a statement claiming Lu was expressing his personal views, and these should not be over-interpreted. The statement said that “China respects the status of sovereign nations born after the breakup of the Soviet Union.”
Russia has claimed that its forces have made advances in the city of Bakhmut, while Ukrainian forces say they are holding the frontline. The Russian military sees Bakhmut as a stepping stone to more advances in eastern Ukraine. The Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has vowed to keep defending the city, stating that it is impossible for Ukraine to give up on Bakhmut as this will expand the battle front and give Russian forces and Wagner chances to seize more of their lands. The Russian-installed head of Ukraine’s southern Kherson region has denied a report by a US think tank that Ukrainian forces had taken up positions on the Dnipro river’s eastern bank, and the Institute for the Study of War has cited Russian military bloggers embedded with Moscow’s forces to suggest that Ukraine had established positions on the eastern bank. There have been reports of civilian casualties and buildings destroyed in the area.
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