19:59 GMT +316 October 2018
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    Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with President of Czech Republic Milos Zeman

    Czech Businesses Aim to Restore Positions in Russia - Confederation of Industry

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    Some 130 heads of leading companies and enterprises will visit Russia alongside the President of the Czech Republic Milos Zeman, who is kicking off his five-day official visit to the country.

    PRAGUE (Sputnik) Czech firms are looking to restore their position on the Russian market after being affected by the West's anti-Russian sanctions, President of the Confederation of Industry of the Czech Republic Jaroslav Hanak told Sputnik.

    "The large number of delegation participants demonstrate the interest which Czech entrepreneurs show in the Russian market. I have never heard about a business-delegation headed by a country leader arriving in Russia on three planes. Traditionally it is one or two, but three is very unusual," Hanak said.

    READ MORE: 'Czech Donald Trump' Could End Up Smashing EU's Anti-Russia Consensus

    The official noted that Western sanctions undermined the position Czech companies had in Russia, which shifted its focus to the cooperation with China instead of Europe. That is why, the goal of the business community was to restore its previous standing, he said.

    "I have been at a huge industrial trade fair in Russia's Yekaterinburg recently and realized how seriously the anti-Russian sanctions by West have affected the positions of Czech firms in Russia. Most of this exhibition was dedicated to Russian-Chinese cooperation," Hanak said.

    The head of the Czech Republic, along with his wife on November 20, will arrive in Sochi, where he is scheduled to meet with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

    In 2014, relations between Russia and the West deteriorated over Moscow's alleged involvement in the Ukraine conflict and Crimea's reunification with Russia. The European Union, which includes the Czech Republic, the United States and their allies imposed several rounds of sanctions on Russia's energy, banking, and defense sectors, among others, as well as on a number of Russian officials. Russia denied the accusations and reciprocated. The situation has led to a drop in trade volumes between EU members and Russia.


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