EU news and policy debates across languages


Crimea cannot be returned to Ukraine, Czech president says

Europe's East

Crimea cannot be returned to Ukraine, Czech president says

Russian troops have occupied Crimea since April 2014.


Ukraine cannot get back the Crimea peninsula, although Russia took it by annexation, Czech President Milos Zeman was quoted as saying on Friday (9 September).

Russia annexed Crimea, which includes the strategic port of Sevastopol where its Black Sea Fleet has been based, in 2014, prompting the European Union and United States to impose economic and political sanctions on various Russian companies and officials.

Zeman has spoken out against the EU sanctions and has regularly expressed pro-Russian views. He was the only Western leader to attend the May 2015 celebrations in Moscow to mark the end of World War Two.

Will Prague be rewarded for its new attitude to China?

The Czech Republic is no longer criticising China on human rights or over the status of Tibet, and it is expected to reap economic benefits over the current visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping, write Václav Kopecký and Alice Rezková.

“An annexation means breaching international agreements and it is doubtless that agreements guaranteeing Ukraine’s territorial integrity were breached,” Zeman said in a response to a reader’s question published by

“On the other hand, I agree with you that (Soviet leader Nikita) Khrushchev made an unforgivable silly thing and world’s politicians acknowledge today that Crimea cannot be given back to Ukraine,” Zeman said. He did not specify who those politicians were.

Khrushchev gave Crimea to Ukraine, then part of the Soviet Union, in 1954

Czech president attends anti-Islam rally on Velvet Revolution anniversary

Milos Zeman, the President of the Czech Republic, attended a rally against refugees and Islam in Prague on Tuesday (17 November) on the anniversary of the 1989 Velvet Revolution, which peacefully toppled Communism in then Czechoslovakia.

The Czech government, which has the main say in the foreign policy of the EU country, has followed the common stance of the bloc regarding the sanctions on Russia.

The United States expanded its sanctions over the Crimea annexation on September 1, adding dozens of people and companies, some of them involved in building a multi-billion dollar bridge to link the Russian mainland with the peninsula.

This week, Russia has started major military exercise involving the Black Sea and Caspian fleets with 12,500 troops taking part.