Prague - The EU and NATO should launch very strong preventive actions to deter Russia from extending military operations into further areas of Ukraine, possibly also Moldova, Czech President Milos Zeman said at a conference on the 10th anniversary of the Czech Republic´s EU entry today.
Prezident Miloš Zeman vystoupil 11. dubna na Pražském hradě na konferenci Česko očima Evropy, Evropa očima Česka, která se uskutečnila k 10. výročí vstupu České republiky do Evropské unie. ČTK Vondrouš Roman
Zeman said this would avert a chain annexation of further regions by Russia and he added that Crimea, which recently voted for joining Moscow, has already been lost.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said he is against deterring Russia. He said this is not time for "sounding the attack."
Zeman repeated he is against the imposition of any sanctions.
"I favour effective and very resolute, often preventive actions because prevention is always cheaper than the subsequent extinguishing of the fire," Zeman said.
Zeman said he does not want to look like a warmonger, but that he is afraid of a chain reaction if Russian units entered eastern Ukraine and occupied Odessa, for instance.
This could be followed by "occupying Transnistria, possibly also Moldova," Zeman said.
Sobotka came out in favour of maintaining dialogue with Russia. At the same time, however, the EU cannot tolerate the violation of international law and efforts at splitting Ukraine.
If Russia militarily encroaches on further Ukrainian territory, the EU will apply economic sanctions, he said.
"There is no military solution to the Ukraine situation, it can only be solved politically," Sobotka said.
Zeman spoke about his stance with NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen in Prague on Thursday.
He said today he and Rasmussen agreed on that the situation cannot only be solved via empty political platitudes.