Czechs unlikely to recognise referendum on Crimea joining Russia


09.03.2014 15:20

Prague - The Czech Republic will not probably recognise the referendum on Ukrainian Crimea joining Russia scheduled for the end of next week, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) said today, adding that the plebiscite is at variance with Ukrainian legislation.


Český premiér Bohuslav Sobotka vystoupil 6. března v Bruselu na tiskové konferenci po summitu EU k situaci na Ukrajině. ČTK Dospiva Jakub

"It is necessary to observe Ukrainian laws and the constitution," Sobotka said in the Questions of Vaclav Moravec on Czech Television (CT).

He said according to the Ukrainian constitution no referendum on the secession of a territory is impossible unless it is a national vote.

That the referendum will not have any legal weigh was said by new Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk in Brussels recently.

Sobotka said today the Ukrainian government, which was formed after the fall pro-Russian president Viktor Yanukovych, is legitimate.

Sobotka said he expects a majority of Crimea inhabitants to support the island´s joining Russia. The Crimean self-authority and Russia act already now as if Crimea were part of Russia.

Sobotka said the procedure of Russia, whose soldiers have allegedly occupied the island, breaches international agreements and praised the prudent attitude by the Ukrainian government.

"We want Ukraine and Russia to sit down at the negotiating table," Sobotka said.

He said comparing the current "Crimea crisis" with the secession of Kosovo from Serbia does not correspond to reality.

"Not independence of Crimea, but its joining Russia is at stake here," Sobotka said.

He said a general election should be held in Ukraine as soon as possible. President Milos Zeman expressed the same opinion earlier this week.

No date has been set for the election. A new president is to be elected on May 25.

Sobotka said if tension in Crimea escalated, the EU would discuss steps to be taken in relation to Russia.

Sanctions in the form of visas restriction or the freezing of property of the people responsible for the crisis in Ukraine would be considered, Sobotka said.

He said the Czech Republic must maintain economic relations with Ukraine and Russia.

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