January 4, 2015

Zeman criticizes Ukrainian PM

President says Yatsenyuk is prime minister of war’

Prague, Jan 3 (ČTK) Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko may be a man of peace, while Prime Minister Arseni Yatsenyuk seems to be “the prime minister of war, judging by his words,” Czech President Miloš Zeman says in daily Právo , adding that Yatsenyuk shuns a peace solution to Ukraine’s problem and wants to solve it by force.

Yatsenyuk does not want the peace solution recommended to him by the European Commission. He wants to use force. As a result, Russia would renew its recently withdrawn support for separatists [in eastern Ukraine], Zeman said.

He said his popularity with Czech voters may have declined due to his statements about Ukraine and Russia.

Many Czechs, “with wrong or insufficient information, idealize Ukraine. They believe that something similar to the Czechoslovak Velvet Revolution happened there. However, in my impolite opinion, the so called color revolution, which brought Viktor Yushchenko and Yulia Tymoshenko to power, has installed the leaders of two gangs at the helm of Ukraine … and the gangs started a war against each other,” Zeman told Právo.

“Corruption rate in Ukraine is one of the world’s highest. That is why I insist that Maidan [movement] was no democratic revolution. I believe that a civil war is underway in Ukraine,” Zeman said.

He said this is also proved by the fact that the parties to the civil war have been negotiating with each other in Minsk.

As far as his popularity is concerned, Zeman said he was popular with a mere 6 percent of voters at the beginning of the campaign ahead of the January 2013 direct presidential election, which he eventually won, defeating his rival, then foreign minister Karel Schwarzenberg, in 13 of the country’s 14 regions.

Before the recent decline, his popularity reached 64 percent, Zeman, former Social Democrat prime minister (1998-2002) who lived in retirement from 2002 to 2013, said and added that he has experienced a number of rises and falls in his life.

“I do not consider my stances on Russia, Ukraine and China an evil but a view that is shared by many politicians,” said Zeman, whom his opponents criticize for kowtowing to China and to Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

Asked whether he agrees with the Czech Cabinet’s decision not to accept Syrian refugees for now, Zeman said he does.

“Humanitarian aid should be provided to Syrian refugees in their homeland or the neighboring countries, not in the Czech Republic,” Zeman said.

He said Islamization is a very serious problem, regarding Islamic State’s plan to take control of a half of Europe, a half of Africa and most of Asia, whatever the number of victims may be.

“Only a fool would not take the warning seriously, in view of Islamic State’s success so far, mainly Iraq,” Zeman said.

Asked what Prague politicians could do about this, he said he has been urging the Czech defence minister to initiate the sending of 150 soldiers to the Golan Heights, on the other side of which operations have been launched by the An-Nusra organization, something between Al-Qaeda and Islamic State.

“We should go there to show, as we have shown by our participation in the Afghan mission, that we are able to fight Islamic terrorism not only by words but also by deeds,” Zeman said.

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