PRAGUE, August 31, /ITAR-TASS/. Ukraine cannot join NATO or become part of the European Union as long as an armed conflict continues in the southeast of the country, Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said on Sunday.
“I believe both NATO and the European Union should have given realistic hopes (to Ukraine),” said the prime minister after getting back to the Czech capital following an EU summit.
“We cannot be solving as difficult matters as Ukraine’s entry into the EU and NATO until the peace plan [of Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko] is implemented,” he said.
“We cannot solve for Ukraine the economic and military problems it is facing. But I warned (at the summit) that if an agreement (on truce) is not achieved before winter, Ukraine may see a humanitarian crisis,” the prime minister said. “And we must be ready for it,” he added.
Kiev’s military operation designed to regain control over the breakaway Donetsk and Lugansk regions, which on May 11 proclaimed their independence at local referendums and now call themselves the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s republics, was launched in mid-April and has involved armored vehicles, heavy artillery and attack aviation. Hundreds of civilians have been killed, many buildings destroyed and tens of thousands of people forced to flee Ukraine’s war-torn southeast.