Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Communist MPs visit Donetsk behind Czech diplomacy's back

ČTK |
18 January 2016

Prague/Kiev, Jan 16 (CTK) - Communist (opposition KSCM) MPs Zdenek Ondracek and Stanislav Mackovik did not tell the Czech Foreign Ministry and the Chamber of Deputies that they were going to visit the Donetsk region controlled by pro-Russian rebels, Czech news server Aktualne.cz writes Saturday.
Ondracek is included in the Ukrainian list of unwanted persons.
A source from the Foreign Ministry unofficially told CTK that Czech diplomats received news of their visit from their Ukrainian colleagues.
Ukrainian media write that the Ukrainian diplomacy sharply protested against the trip and said Ondracek and Mackovik entered Ukrainian territory illegally. Their three-day visit scheduled for this week was not consulted with the Ukrainian authorities, the media write.
Ukraine´s Foreign Ministry called on the Czech government and parliament to openly distance themselves from similar provocations that show disrespect for Ukrainian sovereignty. Such a step is in contradiction with the official positions of the Czech Republic and the European Union that have condemned the Russian aggression against Ukraine, Kiev said.
According to the Interfax-Ukraine news agency, Ondracek and Mackovik went to the Donetsk People's Republic in eastern Ukraine to make contacts with civilians and gather information on the effects of enemy actions and on the humanitarian situation.
The two Czech MPs entered the Donetsk republic from Russia. Ukraine banned Ondracek from entering its territory. In December, he was forced by the Ukrainian authorities to fly back home from the Kiev airport.
KSCM deputy chairman Jiri Dolejs told CTK that the two MPs seemed to be on a private visit to Ukraine. He said he did not have any further information on the case.
Street protests in Ukraine resulted in the fall of president Viktor Yanukovych and his escape to Russia in 2014. This was soon followed by the Russian annexation of the Crimean peninsula and the breakout of an armed conflict in eastern Ukraine where pro-Russian separatists started operating. Kiev accuses Russia of sending its soldiers to fight along with the separatists, which moscow dismisses. Over 9000 have died in the Donbass conflict since April 2014.

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