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18 Apr, 2022 12:04

Ex-Czech leader denounces ‘hatred of Russia’

Vaclav Klaus says that Western love for Ukraine is built on a bad foundation
Ex-Czech leader denounces ‘hatred of Russia’

Instead of sending more weapons to Ukraine, the West should focus on trying to resolve the Ukraine conflict through peaceful means, former Czech President Vaclav Klaus has argued in an op-ed.

“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, last week. 

“Yet, no serious peace talks are taking place. On the contrary. Instead of calls for such negotiations, we are hearing battlecries and reports of an increase in supply of modern weapons [to Ukraine].”

Klaus, who led the Czech Republic between 2003 and 2013 and also previously served two terms as prime minister, raised doubt about whether the current conflict was limited to just 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.

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

I have always been terribly ashamed of the way the Czechs had treated Ukrainian migrants working in our country, both legally and illegally. Now suddenly everyone is gushing with love for Ukraine and Ukrainians. 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.

He added: “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’. It is time to dare to raise this issue. We need to learn from history.”

NATO member states have been sending weapons to Ukraine, ranging from anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles to armored vehicles and kamikaze drones. Many Western countries, including EU members, imposed sweeping sanctions on Moscow, with some calling for a ban on oil and gas imports from Russia.

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. The German and French brokered protocols were designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.

The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.