Former Soviet Bloc countries react to Russian invasion of Ukraine: 'a crime against peace'

Russian strikes are taking place in Kyiv during second day of fighting: Yingst

Fox News foreign correspondent Trey Yingst provides the latest on the Russian invasion underway in Ukraine on ‘Hannity.’

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has drawn strong condemnation from former Soviet satellite states for whom the images of troops and tanks rolling in to quash a nation’s independence looks painfully familiar.  

Some criticism has come from politicians like Czech President Milos Zeman and Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban who until now were major pro-Russian voices. Both of their countries are no strangers to Russia’s brutality — the Czech Republic, as part of Czechoslovakia, in 1968, and Hungary in 1956.

FILE: Viktor Orban waves after his annual state of the nation speech in Varkert Bazaar conference hall of Budapest, Hungary, Feb. 12, 2022.
(AP Photo/Anna Szilagyi, File)

Addressing the nation Thursday, Zeman called Russia’s actions in Ukraine “an unprovoked act of aggression” and a “crime against peace.” 

Many in the Czech Republic reviled Zeman as a “servant of Kremlin” after he sided with Russia in the 2014 annexation of Crimea and cast doubt on the findings of his own security and intelligence services on the alleged participation of Russian spies in a huge 2014 ammunition explosion.

Zeman admitted Thursday that he was wrong in his prediction that Russians wouldn’t attack Ukraine because “they aren’t lunatics to launch an operation that would be more damaging for them than beneficial.”

FILE: President of the Czech Republic Milos Zeman addresses the media during a joint press conference after their meeting at the Hofburg palace with the Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen in Vienna, Austria, June 10, 2021.
(AP Photo/Lisa Leutner, File)

Pavel Rychetsky, the chief judge at the Constitutional Court, the country’s highest legal authority, suggested that a European arrest warrant should be issued against Russian President Vladimir Putin. He said Putin should be tried at the International Criminal Court for “an unprecedented unleashing of war on the European continent for the first time since World War II.”

In Hungary, high-ranking officials had for weeks avoided condemning Russia’s actions directly. Under Orban, the country has pursued close ties with Putin, a point of concern for many of Hungary’s western partners. But on Thursday, Orban was clear in his condemnation of the Kremlin.

“Russia attacked Ukraine this morning with military force,” Orban said in a video on Facebook. “Together with our European Union and NATO allies, we condemn Russia’s military action.”

Bulgaria, Moscow’s closest ally during the Cold War, followed suit.

“Having strategic bombers and missiles flying in Europe in the 21st century, assaults by air and sea against a sovereign state, is absolutely inadmissible,” President Rumen Radev said.

A woman walks past the debris in the aftermath of Russian shelling, in Mariupol, Ukraine, Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022. 
(AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)

Romania also stood staunchly with its western partners.

“Through today’s cynical invasion, the Russian Federation is the architect of the worst security crisis since World War II,” the ruling coalition leaders said.

Neighboring Moldova, a former Soviet republic and one of the few former communist Eastern European countries not to have joined NATO so far, echoed these views. 

Moldovan President Maia Sandu stressed that Russia’s attacks were launched “in violation of international norms,” adding that the international community “unanimously condemns these military actions.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report 

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