Czech President Milos Zeman was “realistic” in saying that Crimea is part of Russia and the peninsula was transferred to Ukraine within the Soviet Union only several decades ago, told a member of the European Parliament Jaromir Kohlicek.
Earlier in October, Zeman said that he saw a possibility for Moscow to compensate Kiev financially or with oil and gas, for Crimea’s secession from Ukraine and reunification with Russia. Zeman also stressed that Crimea becoming part of Russia was a fait accompli.
“So, from one point of view, Milos Zeman was right, it is necessary for Ukraine to accept the current state of affairs. Zeman did not say whether it was correct or not. This means that the parliament members, my colleagues, are not even capable of listening to what the president says. I think that Zeman was very realistic in his evaluation of the fact that Crimea has always been part of Russia, and got into Ukraine within the USSR only at a specific time. At the same time, Crimea has always been an autonomous republic, which had its opportunities and it used said opportunities to the fullest,” Kohlicek said.
The parliamentarian noted, however, that Zeman should not have mentioned Russia compensating Kiev for Crimea, as the residents of the peninsula had decided to split with Ukraine and reunite with Russia at a referendum, therefore determining the region’s independence from Ukraine.
Kohlicek also expressed regret that the Czech president did not touch upon other issues, such as the autonomy of Ukraine’s western Zakarpattia Region, the situation of the country’s Rusyn people, which are refused the status of an ethnic minority, or the recent education law adopted by Kiev that is largely considered as discriminating toward minor national diasporas.
The member of European Parliament also called on the EU member states to recognize Crimea as part of Russia and lift the sanctions against the country.
“I think this is simply necessary for the EU nations to comprehend the current state of affairs, the fact that Crimea is part of Russia and keep working with this, and lift the sanctions. This is a paradox but there is nothing better for Russia than the sanctions. As far as I know, the sanctions incited significant assistance to the Russian agriculture, food production, industry, the producers received help,” Kohlicek said.
The parliament member expressed regret that Czech companies lost their positions on the Russian market after the economic restrictions were imposed. He further highlighted that the sanctions sent trade between the European Union and Russia down, while the United States continued to expand its trade ties with Russia.
Crimea rejoined Russia in 2014, when 97 percent of the peninsula’s residents voted in favor of the move in a referendum. Despite this, the reunification was not recognized by the majority of the Western countries, including EU member states, which subsequently imposed economic and political sanctions on Moscow. Russia has repeatedly said that the referendum was conducted in compliance with international law.