Prague - The strictest possible sanctions ought to have been imposed on Russia immediately after it annexed Crimea in order to stop its aggression, former foreign minister Karel Schwarzenberg (TOP 09) told Czech Television (CT) today.
Předseda TOP 09 Karel Schwarzenberg přednesl 5. ledna v pražském Obecním domě svůj tříkrálový projev. ČTK Doležal Michal
"Occupation of the territory of a different country is a clear violation of all treaties that should be punished immediately by the strictest measures in order to stop the aggression," Schwarzenberg said.
The aggression has continued during the validity of moderate sanctions as further Ukrainian town halls were occupied, he added.
"If there is an attack, a tough response must follow," Schwarzenberg said.
Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek (Social Democrats, CSSD) said a rapid imposition of stricter sanctions on Russia would not halt Russia and would not help improve the situation.
Schwarzenberg said Russian President Vladimir Putin's credibility was lowered since by annexing Crimea, he had violated the treaty in which Ukraine gave up its nuclear arms in exchange for the guarantee of inviolability of its borders.
He said the "Crimean scenario" had not stopped since similar events had started in other towns in southern and eastern Ukraine.
Zaoralek took issue with the argument.
However, Putin managed to create the atmosphere of a civil war in Ukraine, he added.
"Putin is playing a tough game for power. This is the only thing that interests him," Schwarzenberg said.
The USA and the EU have imposed some sanctions on Russia over the Ukrainian crisis.
Schwarzenberg said the USA and the EU should support more Ukraine's independence, primarily in the economic and also military spheres.
"Ukraine made the mistake when it neglected its own military as did a number of European countries. Now one can see the result," Schwarzenberg said.