By attacking Ukraine, Russia gained nothing and lost virtually everything, said Czech President Miloš Zeman, considered one of the Kremlin’s biggest EU friends before the war.
Zeman made the comment on Tuesday at a meeting with Czech diplomats at Prague Castle. He said Russia had suffered economic, human, material and reputational losses since invading Ukraine. Putin attacked Ukraine due to NATO’s surrender in Afghanistan, Zeman said, citing the explanation offered by Israeli President Yitzhak Herzog.
The Czech president told the diplomats that practically everybody in Czech politics believed the war in Ukraine was Russian aggression. He said he fully supported supplying arms to the Kyiv government and praised the welcoming of Ukrainian refugees to Czechia.
The central European country has welcomed some 400,000 people to date.
Zeman said he believed Czechia would contribute to the reconstruction of Ukraine but said a long war of attrition could be expected.
The government has already stated its ambition to lead the reconstruction efforts and has established a channel for Czech companies to participate.
Until the war in Ukraine forced him to change his position, Zeman was considered one of the Kremlin’s greatest friends in the European Union.
Notably, he advised Ukrainians to take the annexation of Crimea to Russia as a done deal and only seek compensation.
Zeman has often diverted from the foreign policy of the Czech government. For example, while welcoming diplomats at Prague Castle on Tuesday, Zeman did not invite Foreign Affairs Minister Jan Lipavský (Pirates).
Even though he changed his rhetoric towards Russia, he plans to visit China and Serbia before the end of his mandate next year.