Czech leaders clash over sanctions against Russia

October 10, 2017
FILE - In this Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017 file photo, President Milos Zeman of of the Czech Republic addresses the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly, at U.N. headquarters. Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has condemned President’s Milos Zeman’s rejection of European Union sanctions against Russia over the crisis in Ukraine. In his speech and following debate at the Parliament Assembly of Council of Europe on Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017, Zeman repeated his negative stance against the sanctions, saying they don’t work. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

PRAGUE (AP) — The Czech Republic’s prime minister has condemned the president’s rejection of European Union sanctions against Russia over the Ukraine crisis.

President Milos Zeman spoke Tuesday in Strasbourg, repeating his stance against the sanctions by saying they don’t work. Zeman suggested they should be replaced with a dialogue that might result in some compensation for Ukraine from Russia. He also called Russia’s annexation of the Crimean Peninsula irreversible.

Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka responded by saying that Zeman’s speech “was in sharp contradiction of our foreign policy and the president had no mandate to do it.” He said that the sanctions could be lifted only after Russia honored a 2015 peace deal.

Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek and some other politicians also rejected Zeman’s comments.

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