Press Advisories

19. 11. 2019 17:49

Prime Minister Babis condemns Russia's aggression in Ukraine, discusses with the President and Prime Minister the possibilities of expanding economic

At their meeting, Prime Minister Babiš assured President Zelenski that the Czech Republic insists on maintaining the territorial integrity of Ukraine, 19 November 2019.
At their meeting, Prime Minister Babiš assured President Zelenski that the Czech Republic insists on maintaining the territorial integrity of Ukraine, 19 November 2019.
On Tuesday, 19 November, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš met Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenski and Ukrainian Prime Minister Oleksiy Hančaruk on a working trip to Ukraine. He assured both politicians that the Czech Republic supports the territorial integrity of Ukraine, its reform process and condemns Russian aggression in the east of the country and the illegal annexation of Crimea.

Prime Minister Babiš's visit to Kiev took place ten years after the last official working visit by a Czech Prime Minister to Ukraine. Prime Minister Babiš called it a restart of mutual relations. The Prime Minister invited Prime Minister Volodymyr Zelenski of Ukraine to Prague for a meeting with representatives of the Visegrad Four.

“I am very glad to be here and pleased that after a gap of ten years there is a Czech Prime Minister in Ukraine; I consider this a very important visit. We have with us a large business delegation, including Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Industry and Trade Havlíček; and the negotiations have been very pleasant, friendly and focussed. I have come with the clear message that we support Ukraine and its people and do not approve, but condemn Russia's aggression in the east of the country and the illegal annexation of Crimea. We support the territorial integrity, sovereignty, unity and independence of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders,” said Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš after talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenski.

Similar words were used by the Czech Prime Minister after talks with the Ukrainian Prime Minister Oleksiy Hančaruk. “Indeed, we do not see any other solution to the conflict in the East than restoring Ukraine's full sovereignty peacefully, and I appreciate Ukraine's goodwill in taking steps to enable a Normandy Format summit. We truly hope that the Normandy Format meeting on 9 December will produce concrete results, not just political declarations,” said the Czech Prime Minister after negotiations with his Ukrainian counterpart, referring to the planned four-party negotiations between top representatives of Ukraine, Russia, France and Germany.

According to Prime Minister Babiš, the Czech Republic remains ready to help Ukraine in the form of development and humanitarian aid. “I have assured the President that we are counting on continuing humanitarian aid to people affected by the conflict in the East and on development cooperation in Ukraine to the same extent as has hitherto been the case. Since 2014 we have set aside EUR 15 million for Ukraine. We support the reform efforts of the President and the government and are monitoring the anti-corruption steps and the reform of the judicial system. Genuine rule of law is also extremely important, inter alia, for the business environment and economic development,” the Prime Minister stated.

The economic aspect of the working trip to Ukraine was also important. The premier was accompanied in addition to the Deputy Prime Minister for the Economy Karel Havlíček by some ninety representatives of Czech companies headed by President of the Czech Chamber of Commerce Vladimír Dlouhý. Part of the programme in Kiev was a joint Ukrainian-Czech Business Forum, which was jointly opened by prime ministers Andrej Babiš and Oleksiy Hončaruk.

"Our business objectives have become more specific and we believe that there will be an increase in business turnover between Ukraine and the Czech Republic," Andrej Babiš commented. According to him, Czech companies have very specific ideas for the possible further development of business collaboration. “It is excellent that the Intergovernmental Commission for Economic Cooperation is working again. Deputy Prime Minister Havlíček is one of its chairs and we have specific contracts on the table, ” he pointed out. Bilateral trade turnover between the Czech Republic and Ukraine has been growing since 2016 and in 2018 reached a record 2.3 billion euros.

The Prime Minister also visited several sites of remembrance in Kiev associated with Ukraine's difficult past and with Czech-Ukrainian relations. He laid a flower at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Memorial of Eternal Glory and paid his respects to the memory of the victims of the famines in Ukraine during the Stalinist repressions. He also paused at the commemorative Czech Company plaque on Sofia Square, which commemorates the solemn oath of volunteers from 11 October 1914 that began the formation of the Czechoslovak Legions, the beginnings of the future Czechoslovak army. He also visited the Ukrainian Parliament, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, where he was received by its President Dmytro Razumkov.

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