Ex-leader of EU state explains how Ukraine conflict may be solved — Analysis

Former Czech President Vaclav Klaus says that “hatred of Russia” is a bad excuse to love Ukraine

In an opinion piece published on Thursday, Vaclav Klaus, ex-Czech President, argued that instead of sending additional weapons to Ukraine the West should concentrate on peacefully resolving the conflict in Ukraine.

“The war in Ukraine has been going on for seven weeks. … People are dying,” Klaus wrote in a piece published on the news website iDNES.

“Yet, no serious peace talks are taking place. Contrary. Instead of calling for these negotiations, we hear battlecries and reports on an increase of modern weapons supply [to Ukraine].”

Klaus was the Czech Republic’s leader between 2003-2013 and previously served as the prime minister twice. He raised questions about the extent of the conflict with Russia and Ukraine. “Isn’t it actually a conflict between the West and Russia, in which Ukraine is an unfortunate, albeit convenient object?” He wrote.

He argued that the former president was wrong. “the West and Russia must sit down at the negotiations table as soon as possible.”He suggested also that China, the EU, and the USA should all participate in the negotiations.

The Czechs’ treatment of Ukrainian immigrants working legally in the Czech Republic has always made me very ashamed. Everyone is suddenly embracing Ukraine and Ukrainians with a fervent love. Is this love not just a ‘cover for hatred of Russia’, as one official, whom I don’t know personally, wrote to me in an email?

“Hating someone is a bad and flimsy motive for loving someone else. The tragic situation in Ukraine can’t be solved with love and/or hate. Reason and cold pragmatism must prevail,” Klaus wrote.

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He said: “The same person wrote to me that ‘everyone has been blinded by the desire to destroy Russia, even at the cost of self-destruction and economic destruction of Europe’. We must raise the issue. We need to learn from history.”

NATO member countries have been sending weapons, including anti-tank/anti-aircraft missiles as well armored vehicles/ kamikaze drones, to Ukraine. Numerous Western countries including EU members have imposed severe sanctions against Moscow. Some even called for an end to oil and gas imports.

Russia attacked the neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. French and German diplomats brokered the protocols to ensure that the region was granted special status by the Ukrainian state.

In recent years, the Kremlin demands that Ukraine declares itself to be neutral so that it can join NATO. Kiev maintains that Russia’s offensive was not provoked and denies claims it planned to seize the two republics.

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