Spokesman says president sees turmoil in Ukraine as a ‘short- or medium-term matter’
Prague, Aug 4. (ČTK) — Czech President Miloš Zeman is against interrupting business relations with Russia, and he appreciates the effort of Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, ČSSD) in this respect, Zeman’s spokesman Jiří Ovčáček told reporters today.
“The president appreciates the prime minister’s effort not to interrupt business relations with the Russian Federation as he supposes the conflict between Russia and Ukraine is only a short- or medium-term matter, and it would be a mistake to break up well-developing economic relations,” Ovčáček said.
The European Union and the United States tightened sanctions against Russia in early August in reaction to the continuing conflict in eastern Ukraine.
After the Czech government approved the sanctions, too, Sobotka said “it is good that the sanctions do not have an across-the-board economic character but aim at a limited range of spheres.”
The EU decided to ban the export and import of arms and other military materiel to and from Russia and restrict the sales of goods and technologies that can be used for military purposes.
The anti-Russian sanctions also apply to the export of sensitive technologies for oil exploration and mining, including deep submarine and Arctic exploration and mining as well as shale oil extraction. Access to financial markets is also restricted.
Zeman agrees with Industry and Trade Minister Jan Mládek’s opinion (ČSSD) saying if the sanctions afflicted Czech firms, the state should help them enter other post-Soviet markets.
According to the United Nations, the fights between the Ukrainian government and pro-Russian separatists have claimed more than 1,100 lives. Moscow denies supplying weapons to the separatists in eastern Ukraine and stirring up the conflict there.