Czech Foreign Minister: Russian annexation is a ‘foul theft’ of territory

The referendum justifying the annexations was a ‘parody’ of free expression, the ministry said. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 03.10.2022 11:19:00 (updated on 03.10.2022) Reading time: 3 minutes

The Czech Republic will not tolerate the shameful violation of international law by Russia, its foul theft of another state's territory, and President Vladimir Putin's colonial attempts, Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský told the Czech News Agency (ČTK) on Sunday in reaction to the Russian annexation of four Ukrainian regions.

Putin along with the representatives of pro-Russian separatists signed the treaties formally annexing four Ukrainian regions, the self-proclaimed republics of Donetsk and Luhansk in Eastern Ukraine as well as the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions, to the Russian Federation on Friday. The Russian Constitutional Court approved this step on Sunday. The parliament will start debating the annexation on Monday, before submitting it to a vote.

Press agencies have reported that the foreign affairs ministries of Italy, Germany, and Belgium have summoned Russian ambassadors in reaction to the Russian annexation. It is not clear whether Prague will do so as well.

"We are coordinating steps with our allies," Lipavský said. "We will not recognize a single unlawful annexation of Ukrainian territory by Russia regardless of how many Russian soldiers stay in the territory of Ukraine," Lipavský added.

A statement on the Foreign Ministry website said that by announcing mobilization and threatening to use weapons of mass destruction, Russia is escalating an already highly dangerous security situation that it caused itself. “Once again, we strongly urge the Russian Federation to stop this war and withdraw its troops from the territory of Ukraine immediately,” the statement said.

“Czechia, like the entire civilized world, condemns the crimes committed by the Russian armed forces in the occupied territories of Ukraine. The manipulated public vote is only a parody on a possibility of a free expression of the real will of the Ukrainian citizens living there, who are instead being intimidated, exposed to the inhuman manipulation, brutal torture ad mass-killing,” the statement said, adding that Czechia is calling for an international tribunal to bring to justice all the Russian representatives responsible war.

French President Emmanuel Macron announced on Sunday that he would like to work with EU partners on other sanctions against Russia in reaction to the annexation. EU officials last week said if the talks developed into the right direction, the new sanctions could get the green light at the EU informal summit to be held in Prague on Thursday and Friday.

Nine presidents of Central and East European states, including Czech President Miloš Zeman and Slovak President Zuzana Čaputová, have rejected the Russian annexation of Ukrainian territories and called on the other NATO members to considerably increase military aid to Ukraine in a joint statement released by Čaputová’s office.

"We cannot keep silent face to face with the apparent violation of the international law by the Russian Federation and this is why we are releasing the following statement: We confirm our support for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine," the document says. "We do not recognize and will never recognize the Russian Federation's efforts to annex part of the Ukrainian territory."

"We firmly stand behind the 2008 Bucharest NATO Summit decision concerning Ukraine’s future membership," the statement adds. The 2008 summit acknowledged Ukraine's interest in joining NATO and outlined further steps.

"We support Ukraine in its defense against the Russian invasion, we demand that Russia immediately withdraw from all the occupied territories and we call on all allies to considerably increase military aid to Ukraine," says the statement signed by Zeman and Čaputová as well as the presidents of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Poland, and Romania

Shortly after Putin announced the annexation, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Kyiv would not negotiate with Russia as long as Putin remained in power and that Ukraine would file an application for accelerated admission to NATO. Western representatives rejected the annexation as illegal and condemned it.

Zeman condemned the Russian aggression against Ukraine as theft of Ukrainian territory. The annexation of the territories must not be and will not be recognized, Zeman's spokesman Jiří Ovčáček has said.

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