Prague - Several hundreds of Czechs, including cultural and political celebrities, have signed an appeal for President Milos Zeman to cancel the forthcoming visit of his Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Yanukovych to Prague, one of the appeal´s initiators, Petr Marek, told CTK today.
Prezident Miloš Zeman s ukrajinským protějškem Viktorem Janukovyčem v Kyjevě ČTK/AP Sergei Chuzavkov
Marek, from the Bez komunistu.cz (Without Communists) movement, said Zeman should withdraw his invitation to Yanukovych due to the present situation in Ukraine.
Zeman does not plan to do so. He prefers conducting a dialogue with all parties to the conflict, his spokesman Jiri Ovcacek told CTK.
The appeal´s organisers have presented it during Czech rallies in support of the Ukrainian opposition and on the Internet.
"The main impulse was the passing of anti-democratic laws and the first fatalities at the demonstrations in Kiev," Marek said.
He said civic rights and freedoms continue to be violated in Ukraine.
The appeal´s signatories reportedly include personalities such as Oscar-winning film-maker Jiri Menzel, renowned documentarist Helena Trestikova and water slalom world champion Vavrinec Hradilek.
The organisers want to hand over the appeal to Zeman later this week. They want him to "immediately cancel" Yanukovych´s planned visit to the Czech Republic.
Zeman´s spokesman Jiri Ovcacek said Zeman does not reckon with cancelling Yanukovych visit.
"The president extended a reciprocal invitation to Viktor Yanukovych during his October visit to Ukraine. The president prefers a dialogue, which means a dialogue with all parties [to the conflict]," Ovcacek said.
The appeal´s initiators said they also want to turn to the EU to "do more than now" in support of democratic and free Ukraine.
Besides, public fund raising campaigns have taken place in the Czech Republic and clothes and medicines have been collected and sent to Kiev.
According to the activists, the Czech Republic and Canada are among the most active countries sending material aid to Ukraine.