Czech President Zeman says Crimea belongs to Russia

The Black Sea peninsula of Crimea belongs to Russia, the Czech Republic's pro-Moscow President Milos Zeman reportedly said Friday.

"The world's top politicians already know now that Crimea cannot be returned to Ukraine," he said, according to a report from news portal Parlamentnilisty.cz.

Zeman added that former Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev committed an act of "unforgivable stupidity" when he handed the peninsula to Ukraine in 1954.

Although the Czech Republic's president has been decidedly supportive of Russia, the country's centre-left government has refused to recognize Russia's annexation of Crimea.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka joined Poland, Hungary and Slovakia in voicing support for Ukraine's "sovereignty and territorial integrity."

Russia occupied and annexed Ukraine's southern Crimea region two years ago in response to Kiev ousting its pro-Russian president amid mass protests calling for closer ties with the West.

Soon after the annexation, a pro-Russian separatist rebellion erupted in Ukraine's two eastern-most regions. Ukraine has accused Russia of fuelling the conflict with weapons and soldiers for the separatists, allegations Moscow has denied.

Last update: Fri, 09/09/2016 - 19:26
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