Prague - Russian President Vladimir Putin has started something that will become a road to hell, Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek tells the paper Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) today.
Český ministr zahraničí Lubomír Zaorálek na jednání zástupců východoevropských států, včetně zemí V4, po budapešťské schůzce k Ukrajině. ČTK/AP Tamas Kovacs
If everyone starts speaking about the right to self-determination and referenda will decide on state borders, this will be an unimaginable and absurd world, Zaoralek said in reaction to Russia's annexation of Crimea.
The rhetoric used by Putin is not of major interest. It is substantial that he has set into motion something that is immensely dangerous, he added.
This will trigger the rise of nationalist and populist parties, Zaoralek said.
Putin's speech on Tuesday was a certain disappointment. In the 1990s, Czechs only with difficulties came to terms with the recollections of the 1968 Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, he added.
He said that he wanted to surmount the past and to find a new form of relations with Russia.
Now the shadow of the past has returned, Zaoralek said, adding that he had told this to the Russian partners.
The capital invested in building new relations and confidence seems to be totally wasted, Zaoralek said.
He said that as a politician he tried not to let the relations only depend on the past.
Zaoralek said he had even met some Russian politicians who admitted that Russia did not contribute well to the developments in the Czech Republic and some apologised for this.
He said he had considered it a new beginning.
However, many in this country now have the feeling that Russia is back where it used to be. It has turned out that many types of behaviour have not disappeared, Zaoralek said.