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Czech president: Europe must set 'clear boundaries' for Russia

by Martin Fornusek May 11, 2024 9:27 PM 2 min read
Czech President Petr Pavel addresses a press conference at Prague Castle on May 2, 2023, in Prague, Czechia. (Michal Cizek/AFP via Getty Images)
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Russia does not seek cooperation with Europe, and if European countries want to ensure peace and prosperity, they must set "clear boundaries" for Moscow, Czech President Petr Pavel said in an interview with the Austrian newspaper Die Presse published on May 11.

Tensions between Russia and Europe have been mounting since Moscow launched its full-scale invasion against Ukraine in 2022.

According to the Czech president, Russia continues to see itself as a superpower with the right to dictate rules. Europe's support for Ukraine is therefore in its own interest, he added.

"If we want to maintain security and prosperity in this part of Europe, we must set clear boundaries for Russia," Pavel said in the interview.

"Should we fail, it could lead to serious complications in the future."

Pavel noted that peace with Russia cannot be achieved by accepting its goals. He warned that Moscow seeks to restore the power and influence from the era of the Soviet Union and will not be a peaceful partner.

Europe should prepare for a long-term confrontation with Russia, according to the president.

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Once Moscow behaves in a constructive manner, Europe should as well, but "if Russia acts against our interests, we must face it. Because otherwise, our lifestyle and our values will be under threat," the president said.

Czech authorities recently finished an investigation into deadly ammunition depot blasts on Czech soil in 2014, concluding that Russian operatives were behind the sabotage.

According to Pavel, there is still the possibility that Russia realizes it cannot achieve a military victory in Ukraine, which could lead to negotiations. The president nevertheless said that it is unlikely that Kyiv could liberate all of its occupied territories in the foreseeable future.

Except for unsuccessful negotiations in early 2022, there have been no direct peace talks between Kyiv and Moscow throughout the full-scale war. Russia has not been invited to the upcoming June peace summit in Switzerland.

Vadym Skibitsky, Ukraine's military intelligence deputy head, said peace talks are possible at the earliest in the second half of 2025.

Italian defense minister calls for truce in Ukraine, peace negotiations with Russia
The comments indicated a change of heart from Italian Defense Minister Guido Crosetto, who said in November 2023 that the “time is not yet ripe” for ceasefire talks between Russia and Ukraine.
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