Zeman wants evidence of Russian presence in eastern Ukraine


04.09.2014 20:11

Newport - Prague will demand clear evidence of Russian presence in eastern Ukraine, Czech President Milos Zeman said shortly before the evening meeting of NATO countries´ leaders with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko today.


Český prezident Miloš Zeman přichází 4. září na summit NATO ve velšském Newportu. ČTK Dospiva Jakub

Unlike Zeman, Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek (Social Democrats,CSSD) has no doubts about Russian forces operating in eastern Ukraine.

He said a number of circumstantial evidence proved it.

Prague must reach a unified conclusion in this respect, he added.

"I am convinced that we will manage it and will be able to support NATO´s unanimous position," Zaoralek noted.

Swedish Foreign Affairs Minister Karl Bildt is of the view that Russia apparently intervened in Ukraine twice - first during its occupation of Crimea and now in eastern parts of the country.

Bildt told reporters that Zeman could ask the Czech intelligence service about it.

NATO considers the Russian participation in the fighting in eastern Ukraine clearly proved. NATO representatives in the past spoke about 1000 Russians operating there.

A NATO official, who requested anonymity, mentioned thousands of Russians and hundreds of pieces of military equipment to Reuters agency.

Zeman said on Tuesday he would be for EU´s tighter anti-Russian sanctions if it were proved that Moscow had sent invasion units to eastern Ukraine, but in the opposite case he would be against the sanctions.

Not only Zeman but also Czech PM Bohuslav Sobotka (CSSD) has a reserved stance on Western steps in relation to Moscow. He expressed doubts about the efficiency of the EU sanctions against Russia.

The Czech Republic will participate in the measures NATO might approve at the summit to strengthen the security of its east European members, Zaoralek said.

Further escalation in Ukraine would affect prosperity and security of the Czech Republic, he added. However, he did not clearly say Russia was the threat.

In effort to reach a peace solution, it is not possible to repeat that the other side is not a partner, he noted.

At the summit, NATO should react to the changed security situation in connection with the Russian-Ukrainian conflict with a special a plan, including the allocation of necessary supplies in its east European member states, changes to the command structure and the formation of military forces that would be able to efficiently interfere on a NATO country´s soil in a few days.

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