The topic of the Russian invasion of Ukraine will be important for the upcoming Czech presidency of the European Union, which begins in less than two months, and Czechia will advocate for Ukraine to join the bloc, Czech foreign minister Jan Lipavský confirmed in a recent interview for the iDNES.cz news outlet.
Lipavský revealed that the Czech Republic will support Ukraine’s European ambitions during its presidency, noting that it will be a long journey for Ukraine as it must complete all the procedural steps and gain approval from all the members of the European Union, however, he maintained that bringing the country closer to the EU is the most sensible course of action.
“After all, it will be largely European money that will be used to rebuild Ukraine,” Lipavsky told viewers. “It is in our interest to be as close to Ukraine as possible according to our rules, and we need to help Ukraine with all this. This will also be one of the topics of our presidency,” he added.
Russia has no moral claim to celebrate on Victory Day
Commenting on the Russian celebrations of the Victory Day on May 9, Lipavský said that Russia lost any moral claims to celebrate the end of World War II when it chose to invade Ukraine.
“It is necessary to realize that Russia, with its barbaric and brutal attack on Ukraine, violates international law and the U.N. Charter, which contains an article prohibiting an offensive war,” affirmed the Czech foreign minister.
Lipavský also responded to the reports of Vladimir Putin signing a decree imposing retaliatory sanctions in response to hostile action by some countries and international organizations, insisting that he has no information about these sanctions affecting Czech companies and that every sensible entrepreneur has already left Russia.
“The embassy works in difficult conditions. We have a small embassy there, and they have expelled one of our diplomats. However, our colleagues and the ambassador are dealing with this very well and deserve great respect for their work,” commented Lipavský on the functioning of the Czech embassy in Moscow.
The Czech foreign minister added that he is not currently considering additional deportations of Russian staff from Prague — that includes the Russian ambassador Alexander Zmeevsky who remains in the Czech capital. In Lipavský’s view, it is good to maintain at least the most elementary lines of communication.