Prague leaders oppose Yanukovych´s visit, not to take part in it


04.02.2014 17:18

Prague - The Prague City Hall will not take part in the organisation of the official visit of Ukraine´s President Viktor Yanukovych whom Czech President Milos Zeman invited to Prague for April, Prague Mayor Tomas Hudecek (TOP 09) said today.


Zastupitelé hlavního města volili 20. června primátora a nové vedení radnice. Na snímku je nový primátor Tomáš Hudeček po dnešní tiskové konferenci. ČTK Zbyněk Stanislav

"I can see no reason why Prague should participate in the visit under the present circumstances," Hudecek said.

Prague is against the idea of Yanukovych visiting the Czech Republic, he said.

Prague usually invites heads of states to various events.

At the same time, the Prague City will give half a million crowns to Ukrainian protesters who got injured in clashes with the police earlier this year. The money will be sent via the People in Need humanitarian organisation, which has been already providing support to the pro-EU demonstrators in Ukraine.

Yanukovych is to attend an Eastern Partnership meeting in Prague in April, too.

A group of Ukrainians living in Prague called on Zeman to cancel Yanukovych´s visit. A petition asked the same was signed by several hundred Czechs.

But Zeman does not reckon with the scrapping of the visit.

Zeman prefers conducting a dialogue with all parties to the conflict, his spokesman Jiri Ovcacek told CTK on Monday.

Ukraine has long been split on whether to focus on tighter cooperation with Russia or the EU. The supporters of closer ties with Russia live mainly in the east of the country while the supporters of the other stream live in the west.

The street protests started in Kiev in late November when Ukrainian leaders rejected the association agreement with the EU and they firmed relations with Russia instead. The anti-government demonstrations have claimed several lives.

New Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek (Social Democrats, CSSD) said in January he did not consider it a mistake that Zeman invited Yanukovych to Prague. Zaoralek said he wanted to invite Ukrainian opposition leader Vitali Klitschko or a different Ukrainian opposition leader to the Czech Republic.

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