Zeman appears on Russian TV to blast sanctions

Despite large opposition to his cozy stance on Russia, Czech president says Ukraine is experiencing nothing other than a ‘civil war’

Moscow, Nov. 17 (ČTK) — Czech President Miloš Zeman again voiced his critical position with regard to the sanctions the West has imposed against Russia over its policy in the Ukrainian crisis in a Russian-language interview with the Channel One Russia television channel today.

He repeated the view that there was a civil war in Ukraine.

“In my view, it is most important to understand that there is simply a civil war in Ukraine,” Zeman said. “We must not be busy with any dreams of support, including economic support, for Ukraine, because in the conditions of a civil war economic support is absolute nonsense,” he replied to the question of how long, in his view, the EU sanctions against Russia would last.

Zeman said “an agreement between Ukrainians and Ukrainians” was the first step to resolve the situation. The second step should be an agreement on gas and an agreement on saving Ukraine from bankruptcy, as there is a real risk of this happening, he added.

In a civil war, any economic help is a waste of money, Zeman said. As far as the sanctions against Russia are concerned, he said he believed this was a no-win (in his words, a “lose-lose”) strategy.

He said the voices against the sanctions could be heard not only from the Czech Republic, but also from other European countries such as Slovakia, Hungary and “perhaps also Austria.”

Zeman said some European countries were speaking about the fight against Islamic terrorism being the most important things and that a sort of strategic partnership of Russia, China, the EU and the United States had to be found in the struggle against this real threat.

When it comes to the estimate of how long the Ukrainian crisis may still last, Zeman said he was “a bit pessimistic” because of the risk of Ukrainian bankruptcy.

If it were not for the risk, he would expect some efficient measures relating to the fuel, gas and others to exist in the months to come.

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