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Czech President calls Romani refugees from Ukraine "economic migrants"

2.5.2022 19:06
Czech President Miloš Zeman speaking on 1 May 2022 on the CNN Prima News program
Czech President Miloš Zeman speaking on 1 May 2022 on the CNN Prima News program "Prima Partie Terezie Tománkové" (PHOTO: Prima TV)

If the war continues in Ukraine, the support of the Czech nation toward refugees from there will not cool down, President Miloš Zeman has told CNN Prima News, and the Czechs will constantly see their suffering. At the same time, Zeman attacked Romani refugees from Ukraine, whom he claimed are "economic refugees". 

Zeman recalled the prediction of Jens Stoltenberg, Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), that the conflict could stretch out for months or years. "I think that the support of the Czech nation will not cool down toward the Ukrainian refugees, because we will constantly see their suffering," he said. 

The Czech President said he is very positive about the Ukrainian refugees, but has not changed his negative view of refugees from the Muslim world. According to him, Muslim refugees have mostly been "economic migrants". 

Zeman also mentioned that Muslim refugees have been healthy young men, while those fleeing Ukraine are children and women. "The third difference is that, after all, the Ukrainians fall into our cultural circle, not just linguistically, but also because of their Christian roots and the like, while Muslim refugees live in a very different, Islamic culture," he added. 

The Czech President said he expects that the war will end and many Ukrainians will return to their homeland. "Because they are not economic migrants, because they are really refugees from war who, under normal conditions, want to live in Ukraine," the Czech President explained his prediction. 

"I would make one little exception here in terms of Romani Ukrainians, I am not sure whether they aren't more economic migrants. However, they are a very minor exception, about two thousand people," Zeman said on Terezie Tománková's program on CNN Prima News.

News server Romea.cz has reported more than once on Romani refugees fleeing regions in Ukraine that are affected directly by the fighting. In addition, Romea.cz has broadcast interviews with Romani men fighting in the Army of Ukraine

According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, as of mid-April, more than five million people have left Ukraine since Russia invaded on 24 February. Ninety percent of refugees from Ukraine are children and women and most have gone to Poland.

ryz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Miloš Zeman, Racism, refugee, Ukraine, war, Xenophobia



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