Zeman gives expatriates’ application to minister

President continues his full-throated support of Volhynian Czechs

Lány, central Bohemia, Oct. 18 (ČTK) — Czech President Miloš Zeman handed a list of 232 expatriates in Ukraine, who had asked for repatriation in the Czech Republic due to the present situation in their country, to Interior Minister Milan Chovanec (Social Democrats, ČSSD) today.

Zeman also gave letters from people and firms offering to help with the repatriation to Chovanec, Zeman’s spokesman Jiří Ovčáček told the Czech News Agency.

Ovčáček said Chovanec had promised Zeman he would deal with the issue.

A dispute between the Foreign Affairs Ministry and Zeman erupted over the possible repatriation of Volhynian Czechs.

Zeman had expressed strong dissatisfaction with the work of the Czech Embassy in Kiev in connection with the repatriation request, and he had said the embassy does not have a good attitude toward the Volhynian Czechs.

But Foreign Affairs Minister Lubomír Zaorálek (ČSSD) backed the Czech Ambassador to Ukraine Ivan Počuch.

Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (ČSSD) said the lives and security of Czech expatriates in Ukraine were not being threatened. Zeman does not share this view.

The foreign affairs and interior ministries are going to jointly assess the situation of the expatriated and their application.

The ministries point out Volhynian Czechs can apply for permanent residence in the Czech Republic in simplified proceedings already.

Zeman previously supported a repatriation application by 40 families from the Zhytomyr Region, who turned to Czech representatives in March in connection with the start of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict over Crimea.

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