On Tuesday, former Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg received one of Ukraine’s highest state honors, the Order of Prince Yaroslav the Wise. Last August, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky awarded the honor to Schwarzenberg for his significant personal contribution to strengthening Ukraine’s international prestige, developing cooperation between states, and for his fruitful public activities.
Ambassador to the Czech Republic Jevhen Perebyjnis presented Schwarzenberg with the award in Prague.
In the Ukrainian media, the former Czech Foreign Minister enjoys a reputation as Ukraine’s defender against Russia. In addition to dozens of other European politicians, he appears on the blacklist that Russia has created in retaliation for Western sanctions for the annexation of Crimea and the conflict in Donbas.
The honorary chairman of TOP 09 visited Kiev during the pro-European revolution when he expressed support for the country’s European course. He condemned, among other things, the Russian annexation of Crimea and also advocated for the supply of weapons from the West to Ukraine, facing separatists in the east of the country.
Last year, with the same justification as in the Schwarzenberg case, Zelensky awarded the same order to the Slovak diplomat, Vice-President of the European Commission Maroš Šefčovič. As a European Commissioner, he participated in negotiations to extend the transport of Russian gas through Ukraine.
As an opposition MP, Schwarzenberg urged the government and the Chamber of Deputies to distance itself from the speech by President Miloš Zeman, who advised Kiev in the 2017 Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe to agree with Moscow on compensation for Russia’s occupation of Crimea.
Title image: Former Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg (on the right) being awarded the Order of Prince Yaroslav the Wise by Ambassador to the Czech Republic Jevhen Perebyjnis (Embassy of Ukraine in Prague / Twitter)