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LN: Communists vow to block EU-Ukraine deal in parliament

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Prague, June 18 (CTK) – The EU-Ukraine association agreement is a foreign political priority of the Czech government, but the opposition Communists (KSCM) are resolutely against it and vow to use all available means to thwart its ratification by Czech parliament, daily Lidove noviny (LN) writes Thursday.

“You will certainly recognise that I can find many of such means, in view of my good knowledge of the [lower house’s] order of procedure,” KSCM chairman Vojtech Filip said on Wednesday, on the eve of the parliament’s crucial debate.

Filip, a lawyer by training, is an experienced long-standing member of parliament. He has been lower house deputy chairman since 2013. Before, he held the same post from 2002 to 2010.

He said the KSCM minds the persecution of its comrades in Ukraine.

He indicated that he will give a history lecture in the lower house as an obstruction to paralyse its debate Thursday.

“I will have to speak about the Czech villages in Volhynia (northwest Ukraine) that were burnt down during World War Two and about the Bandera troops’ contribution to such atrocities,” Filip told LN.

The KSCM is the third strongest party in the Chamber of Deputies.

The KSCM blocked the lower house debate on the EU-Ukraine agreement once already, in late May, when KSCM lawmakers prevented the issue from being put on the agenda of the then ongoing session.

“We don’t have to headlessly accept all this,” KSCM deputies’ group chairman Pavel Kovacik said at the time and added that the KSCM mistrusts the present Ukrainian government.

“We don’t think that the Czech government should strike any agreements with it,” Kovacik said.

KSCM lawmaker Leo Luzar recently presented his draft resolution on the EU-Ukraine agreement in which he writes about alleged positions of extremist nationalism, xenophobia and support to fascism among Ukrainians.

Luzar also wrote about oligarchisation as the “cancer of Ukrainian society.”

The lower house foreign committee rejected Luzar’s draft resolution as biased and confrontational last week.

Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD), says the government, which commands a majority of votes in the Chamber of Deputies, insists on the completion of the ratification.

“Ukraine has to be given a European perspective,” he said.

Sobotka said the KSCM only “mechanically copies” the positions of Russia.

“Such behaviour is incompatible with our and European priorities,” Sobotka said.

The two right-wing opposition parties, the Civic Democrats, ODS) and TOP 09, have backed Sobotka’s view, which is very exceptional otherwise, the daily writes.

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