Czech Republic/Ukraine – Interviewed by CNN Prima News this Sunday, 6 February , Czech President Miloš Zeman brought up the current Russian-Ukrainian crisis, which he considers to be a “war of words”, thus taking a completely opposite position to that of the Petr Fiala government and to the discontent of the Ukrainian authorities.
“A War of Words”
Miloš Zeman, who spoke on Terezie Tománková’s show Partie, said ” I do not share fears of a possible Russian aggression against Ukraine […] By comparing profits and losses, you can deduce that
[the Russians] are not stupid, they will understand that they have a lot to lose,”
he considers that if there were to be an armed conflict, the latter would undoubtedly be limited to the two separatist republics of Lugansk and Donetsk, in the Donbass. Moreover, the Czech head of state added that he would therefore not support the possible deployment of Czech soldiers to NATO’s eastern borders. Thus taking pot shots at Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský (Pirates) who had declared at the end of January that the deployment of additional NATO forces on its eastern flank would be in the interests of Czech security and that the Czech army should take part. Let’s not forget that Miloš Zeman had initially rejected this minister whom he considered incompetent in the field of Foreign Affairs. Referring also to the recent donation by the Czech Republic of 4,000 cartridges to Ukraine, Miloš Zeman estimated:
“As a businessman, I would have preferred to sell [them].”
“Zeman is trying to harm Czech-Ukrainian relations”
Such words coming from the Czech president were not appreciated in Kiev, where the Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dmitro Kuleba, quickly reacted on Twitter:
“This new attempt by President Zeman to harm Czech-Ukrainian relations will once again fail.
I look forward to welcoming Jan Lipavský to Ukraine, he represents a responsible government that understands the threat that Russian aggression against Ukraine poses to Czechia and the whole of Europe.”
No Czech soldiers in Ukraine
For his part, the Czech Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Lenka Do, reiterated the Fiala government’s support to Ukraine, but clarified that
“the current Czech government will not send soldiers to defend Ukraine”.
Visit to Ukraine by Czech, Slovak and Austrian Foreign Ministers
Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jan Lipavský, flew this Monday 7 February for two days in the direction of Ukraine in the company of his Austrian and Slovak counterparts, Alexander Schallenberg and Ivan Korčok. The three ministers first travelled to Kharkov, in the east of the country, not far from the front line to the area controlled by pro-Russian separatists in the Donbass – which the ministers visited, towards noon, at Stanitsya Luhanska, to mark European solidarity with Ukraine – before returning to Kiev. On this occasion, the head of Czech diplomacy declared that
“Ukrainians must have a right to decide to belong to the West and move closer to the European Union and the North Atlantic Alliance.
[…] We have experienced, in our history, invasion by foreign troops in 1968. Ukraine is currently experiencing a similar event”.