Kiev, unhappy with recent pro-Russian statements by president, summons Czech ambassador
Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry summoned Czech Ambassador to Kiev on Thursday to ask for an explanation regarding unspecified statements by Czech President Miloš Zeman. In a recent interview for Russian television, the head-of-state described the situation in Ukraine as a civil war and criticised EU sanctions against Russia. Ukraine called the president’s evaluation “unacceptable” and warned that such statements undermined good relations.
“His words at times are so accommodating that Russian propaganda itself could have borrowed them from him. His statements were so close to Russian interests that they have raised eyebrows even in the US Senate.”
Reacting to developments, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka told journalists of a pre-arranged meeting with the president in mid-December. He stated that on matters of foreign policy the Czech Republic needed to present a clear and unified stance and that the government and the president had to be on the same page.
In recent days, Mr Zeman has courted controversy fairly often but also paid the price when jeering crowds spoiled a plaque unveiling ceremony on November 17th. Regarding current discord with Ukraine, the prime minister has been quick to point out that the Czech Republic has a parliamentary system, not a presidential one, making clear the ultimate responsibility for Czech foreign policy will lie with the Czech government and not the head-of-state. On December 10th, the prime minister will have every opportunity to make that point in person.