Ukraine: The Latest – Former French president Sarkozy ‘should be viewed as a Russian influencer’.

Today on Ukraine: The Latest, we discuss a drone strike close to the Kremlin, how a Russian commander says Putin won’t defeat Ukraine in the near term and should seek a ‘truce’ and how another 400 Ukrainian children have been sent to so-called summer camps in Russia in recent weeks for ‘patriotic training’.

The Telegraph’s Paris Correspondent, Henry Samuel, joins today’s panel to discuss how the former President of France has landed himself in hot water:

Nikola Sarkozy has stirred a bit of outrage by suggesting that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could be ended with new referendums in occupied territories.

He said the Ukrainians will want to ‘Reconquer what’s been unjustly taken from them, but if they can’t manage it completely, the choice would be between a frozen conflict or taking the high road out with referendums strictly overseen’, he said, ‘by the international community’.

Then he moved on and said about the Crimean peninsula, that ‘Any return to the way things were before is an illusion’.

Henry then dives into the international reaction to Sarkosy’s comments:

All of this has really sparked a lot of anger, both abroad and over here. First of all, Kyiv is very unhappy. The senior aid to President Zelensky said that was based on criminal logic. And he said ‘You can’t trade other people’s territories because you’re afraid of someone or because you are friends with criminals’. And he said that Sarkozy had in fact deliberately participated in a criminal conspiracy for Russia’s seizure of Ukrainian territories.

Back home he got a lot of flack as well. The Greens said ‘Sarkozy should be viewed as a Russian influencer’. And Julien Bayout from the Green Party pointed out that Sarkozy does have lucrative ties to a Russian insurance company who gave him 3 million Euros to do stuff for it. And is in fact being investigated on suspicion of influence peddling and concealing crimes. And worse for Sarkozy, his former intelligence advisor also said it was shameful and said he had no perspective on what’s happened or what he did during his presidency.

When questioned by podcast host, Dominic Nicholls, on the political capital or influence that Sarkozy holds, Henry comments:

Not nearly as much as he used to because he was recently convicted of corruption and has a host of corruption cases hanging over him.

So he’s got a lot on his plate on that front. The other thing to remember is he comes from the right wing Republican’s party, which fared absolutely disastrously in the last presidential elections, and got less than five percent. Even before that point, Sarkozy’s Star was waning, I would say.

Telegraph subscribers have early access to regular host David Knowles’ conversation with renowned Ukrainian historian and author, Serhii Plokhy. That interview is available exclusively to Telegraph subscribers here.

Renowned historian Serhii Plokhy

Renowned historian Serhii Plokhy

Listen to Ukraine: the Latest, The Telegraph’s daily podcast, using the audio player at the top of this article or on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favourite podcast app.

War in Ukraine is reshaping our world. Every weekday The Telegraph’s top journalists analyse the invasion from all angles – military, humanitarian, political, economic, historical – and tell you what you need to know to stay updated.

With over 40 million downloads, our Ukraine: The Latest podcast is your go-to source for all the latest analysis, live reaction and correspondents reporting on the ground. We have been broadcasting ever since the full-scale invasion began.

Ukraine: The Latest’s regular contributors are:

David Knowles

David is Head of Audio Development at The Telegraph, where he has worked for nearly three years. He has reported from across Ukraine during the full-scale invasion.

Dominic Nicholls

Dom is Associate Editor (Defence) at The Telegraph, having joined in 2018. He previously served for 23 years in the British Army, in tank and helicopter units. He had operational deployments in Iraq, Afghanistan and Northern Ireland.

Francis Dearnley

Francis is assistant comment editor at The Telegraph. Prior to working as a journalist, he was chief of staff to the Chair of the Prime Minister’s Policy Board at the Houses of Parliament in London. He studied History at Cambridge University and on the podcast explores how the past shines a light on the latest diplomatic, political, and strategic developments.

They are also regularly joined by The Telegraph’s foreign correspondents around the world, including Joe Barnes (Brussels), Sophia Yan (China), Nataliya Vasilyeva (Russia), Roland Oliphant (Senior Reporter) and Colin Freeman (Reporter). In London, Venetia Rainey (Weekend Foreign Editor), Katie O’Neill (Assistant Foreign Editor), and Verity Bowman (News Reporter) also frequently appear to offer updates.

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