Prague - NATO should not send its soldiers to Ukraine, not even if Russia continued its aggression, Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) said in an interview with CTK, taking a stance that is opposite to President Milos Zeman´s.
Zeman said NATO soldiers should enter Ukraine if Russia extended its military operations outside Crimea.
Sobotka said NATO should only launch a military reaction if a member state were attacked.
"I do not think that NATO should send its units to Ukraine. NATO should only launch a military reaction if a NATO member state were attacked, or based on a decision by the United Nations Security Council," Sobotka said.
"I firmly believe that aggression against other parts of Ukraine´s territory will not continue, that the Ukrainian government will succeed in maintaining the country´s territorial integrity," Sobotka said.
He added that NATO cannot deal with a possible armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
Sobotka, who will meet NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen in Prague today, repeated that the Czech Republic recognises neither the annexation of Crimea nor the results of the Crimean referendum that confirmed the joining of the peninsula to Russia.
Sobotka stressed the importance of the EU reaction to the Crimea annexation.
"The sanctions [the EU has imposed against Russia] undoubtedly play a great role in relation to Russia´s considerations about whether to continue its military engagement in other parts of Ukraine as well," Sobotka said.
Zeman wants to present his stance on a possible deployment of NATO soldiers in Ukraine to Rasmussen today.
"Of course, I will repeat this. I think that the occupation of Crimea that never belonged to Ukraine is one thing and the invasion of a sovereign country quite another," Zeman told CTK on Wednesday.