Never one to mince his words, Czech President Milos Zeman accused Ukraine of being a mafia state ruled by oligarchs in a TV interview on June 21.
"Let them [Ukraine] pass anti-corruption laws as still there is the rule of tycoons there," the Czech leader said in remarks cited by Tass. "Pouring in money from the EU there means that this money will disappear in these oligarchs’ pockets."
Zeman’s comments to the Prague-based Barrandov TV channel were in reaction to the recent EU decision to grant Ukraine a €1bn assistance programme on June 13, despite Kyiv’s foot dragging on reforms.
"We should not impose our models and tell them how to rule a state in a right way. Let them carry out a constitutional reform and introduce decentralisation," Zeman added.
The European Council said the funds will be allocated to support Ukraine’s economy and reform programmes. Ukraine has received three programmes of the EU macro-financial assistance in loans estimated at €3.4bn.
Zeman is one of several central European leaders that have been critical of the EU support for Ukraine and called for an end to sanctions on Russia.
Earlier this year Zeman led the largest ever delegation of Czech businesspeople to Moscow to drum up trade and investment.
Known for his bizarre antics, Zeman appeared at a press conference earlier this year with a toy AK-47 marked with “for journalists” that had a bottle of Becherovka as the magazine.
Even more recently Zeman invited journalists to a press conference where he burnt a giant pair of red underpants similar to those that the Ztohoven protest group raised over Prague Castle in 2015, where the presidential standard usually flies.