Prague - The European Union is not successful in negotiating in the Russian-Ukrainian dispute and the anti-Russian sanctions have been a failure to date, Czech Finance Minister Andrej Babis said today when launching his ANO movement´s local and Senate elections campaign.
Setkání k zahájení senátní a komunální kampaně hnutí ANO za účasti předsedy hnutí Andreje Babiše (uprostřed) a pražských kandidátů do zastupitelstva a Senátu se konalo 1. září na náměstí Republiky v Praze. ČTK Doležal Michal
Babis said he prefers diplomatic solutions and that the Czech Republic should be united in its stances as an EU and NATO member.
Babis also said the country should provide Ukraine with humanitarian aid in the form of a field hospital, for instance.
Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) took a reserved stance on the tightening of the anti-Russian sanctions at the weekend.
He said the sole way out of the Ukrainian crisis is Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko´s peace plan.
Sobotka said the sanctions have not been effective and that the Czech Republic has reserved the right not to agree with a part of the EU´s planned tightening of them for economic reasons.
Sobotka has come under the criticism by the opposition and Pavel Belobradek, head of the junior government Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL), has also came out in favour of stricter sanctions.
Babis said Belobradek should not attack Sobotka when details about the weekend EU summit are not known and that the Czech stance on the sanctions should be debated within the government coalition.
Babis would not comment on Sobotka´s opinions. He said, however, any debate about the sanctions is premature now that it is not clear what form they are to have.
Babis said, however, the impact of the sanctions on the Czech economy is sometimes overestimated.
The Agriculture Ministry said recently Czech exporters of farm produce and foods will lose up to 300 million crowns in sales over the embargo on exports to Russia by the year´s end.
The Czech government may discuss the EU´s proposal to tighten the anti-Russian sanctions on Wednesday. Slovakia has also called the sanctions counter-productive.