Prague - The EU should impose the toughest sanctions on Russia and NATO troops might be deployed in Ukraine if Russia expands to eastern Ukraine, President Milos Zeman told Czech Radio (CR) today.
Zeman said Crimea, recently annexed by Russia, would not return to Ukraine in the foreseeable future and Western powers and the EU in particular had to reconcile themselves with this.
"On the other hand, at the moment Russia would decide to widen its territorial expansion to the Ukrainian east, this will become really serious as this would trigger a chain reaction," Zeman said.
"In such a case, I would advocate not only the toughest sanctions by the EU, but, even, let us say, North Atlantic Alliance's military readiness. This may be exemplified by NATO troops entering Ukraine," Zeman said.
Russia's entering eastern Ukraine would be a reaction that would touch upon the territory of a sovereign state, he added.
Zeman said he was among those trying to understand Crimea's joining Russia.
"On the one hand, there was the silly decision by Soviet leader Nikita Khrushtchev from 1954. As you know, Crimea had never been part of Ukraine. Besides, most of its population evidently wished the annexation," Zeman said.
Zeman said Ukraine's federalisation along the model of Germany and Switzerland would not be anything harmful.
A measure of decentralisation and autonomy could calm down the situation in Ukraine, he added.