Interior Ministry to look into situation of ethnic Czechs in Ukraine

The Czech Interior Ministry will look into the situation of ethnic Czechs living in Ukraine and consider the necessity of organizing a broad repatriation, Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek told Czech Television following a meeting with President Milos Zeman on Friday. The head of state requested the meeting after receiving a plea for repatriation from 70 ethnic Czech families in Ukraine. The foreign minister recently travelled to the Zhytomyr region inhabited by Volynhia Czechs on a fact-finding mission and at the time ruled out a mass exodus saying the families were in no apparent danger and pointing to the fact that the way had been made easy for ethnic Czechs in Ukraine to move back to their old homeland since they would be granted temporary residence merely on the grounds of their Czech roots without having to prove they had resided in the Czech Republic for five years. The president’s chief foreign affairs advisor Hynek Kmonicek said a delegation from the Interior Ministry should assess the situation in Ukraine on the ground and decide on the scope of a possible repatriation and its criteria. Its proposal will then be discussed by the cabinet.