Prague favours diplomatic solution to Ukraine crisis

The Czech Republic is in favour of a diplomatic solution to the crisis in Ukraine, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka told journalists ahead of Thursday’s emergency meeting of EU leaders in Brussels. EU leaders are to consider “targeted measures” against Russia in response to its military invasion of the Crimean peninsula, but with the alliance divided over economic sanctions, the EU is expected to opt for diplomatic measures such as curtailing talks on visa free travel with Russia and freezing the assets of selected Russian officials. While some EU leaders are pushing for tough punitive measures as a clear signal to Moscow that violation of international law will not be tolerated, others are against tough measures for fear they might further aggravate the situation. Most EU member states are also heavily dependent on crude oil and gas from Russia.