Czech relations with Russia are currently at a freezing point, but it would not be right to completely stop communicating. This was stated by Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš before the start of Thursday’s European Union summit. According to him, Czechia was to consider supporting a proposal to hold a summit of EU leaders with Russian President Vladimir Putin, however, in the end, the representatives did not agree to hold the meeting.
“Our relations with Russia are at a freezing point. We reacted logically the way we did because it is not possible for what happened to happen ever again. However, we must communicate,” the prime minister told Czech journalists in Brussels, referring to the Vrbětice case and subsequent expulsion of Russian and Czech diplomats.
The heads of states and governments of the European Union, however, did not agree to hold a summit with Putin. The proposal by Germany and France was rejected after a three-hour night meeting in Brussels by countries that want Moscow to start meeting some EU requirements before the potential summit.
The summit conclusions thus talk about the possibilities of dialogue in areas of common interest but also call for the preparation of possible further economic sanctions. Overall, they are in a significantly less favorable tone for Moscow than the original text proposed by Berlin and Paris.
Czechia must change its behavior, according to Moscow
Moscow insists that it is Prague that must change its behavior towards Russia to resume dialogue between the two countries. According to the TASS agency, Deputy Russian Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko made Russia’s position clear.
“The Czech Republic must establish normal relations with Russia and abandon the ways of acting that it adheres to,” Grushko said in response to the question of what is needed to restore relations between Prague and Moscow.
“We are not expecting anything. I think there are enough politicians who can draw conclusions from what has happened in relations with Russia. In my opinion, they simply have to learn from it,” the deputy head of Russian diplomacy added.
Title image: Czech Republic’s Prime Minister Andrej Babis leaves at the end of the first day of an EU summit at the European Council building in Brussels, early Friday, June 25, 2021. Pool Photo via AP)