Press Advisories

28. 8. 2014 23:43

Reaction of the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic to current events in Ukraine

The Czech Republic is deeply concerned about the escalating situation in eastern Ukraine. I consider information on direct military support provided by the Russian Federation to the separatists to be extremely serious and this should be investigated and confirmed. Any disruption to the territorial integrity of Ukraine is unacceptable. As the Czech Republic, we have in recent days welcomed the meetings between representatives of Ukraine, the Russian Federation and EU representatives, which took place on 26 August in Minsk, because we are convinced that only a political solution can resolve the current crisis. However, it appears that the meeting in Minsk has not lowered tensions in the area.

I welcome the fact that the European Council will meet this Saturday, where, after a serious evaluation of all the latest facts, we will be able to coordinate the EU position vis-a-vis the current situation in Ukraine. The Czech Republic wishes to ensure that the EU continues to speak to Russia and the Ukraine with one voice. If it is confirmed that there was a direct military invasion into Ukraine, this would mean, after the occupation of Crimea, another unacceptable violation of international law.

Further escalation of sanctions is not in Europe’s interest, or in the interests of Russia and the Czech Republic is not in favour of this kind of outcome. However it is now primarily up to Russia to adopt a course of conduct and behaviour that will enable a political solution without further casualties and without expanding the trade war with western countries. Russia should refrain from providing military support to the separatists, supplying weapons to militants and allow room for a political solution.

Unfortunately, current developments in the crisis in Ukraine have confirmed my fears that the Ukrainian crisis may be of very long duration, with serious economic consequences. It is therefore entirely appropriate for the Czech government to focus fully on finding new opportunities for Czech exports and, at the same time, to prepare additional mechanisms to reduce the impacts of the Ukrainian crisis on our economy, including assistance to companies in the form of “short time working”.

Bohuslav Sobotka, Prime Minister, Czech Republic

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