Miloš Zeman
Some Czech people have signed a petition asking for President Miloš Zeman to be "donated" to Russia's leader Valdimir PutinReuters

Writers and artists in the Czech Republic have signed a petition offering to donate their president Miloš Zeman as a gift to Russia's leader Vladimir Putin.

The move is seen as a protest against Zeman's position to the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and pro-Russian separatists that has claimed thousands of lives.

Writer Jaroslav Rudi told Czech news agency CTK on Sunday that the petition was a sarcastic way of expressing their disagreement with Zeman, who opposed US and EU sanctions against Russia for its role in the ongoing conflict in which pro-Russia separatists have engaged in an armed conflict with government troops.

The conflict erupted in 2014, after the then president Viktor Yanukovych spurned a trade and investment deal with Europe, in favour of tighter collaborations with Putin.

Yanukovych later fled Ukraine and Russia invaded Crimea to "defend ethnic Russians" in the peninsula. The invasion led to a civil war and the insurgence of pro-Russia separatists.

Those who signed the letter said the petition was a "sign of gratitude" for the role of Russia in the "liberation of Czech Republic".

"Our gift is to reach you on the day of the anniversary at the latest. As a small nation we have nothing more valuable than our president," the Prague Daily Monitor quoted the letter as saying.

"Still we believe that you will keep this exceptional gift from the hands of the Czech nation."

Referring to the letter, Rudi told CTK: "One can fight best stupidity with humour. This is a strong Czech weapon."

He added that he would send a Russian version of the petition to the letter before Zeman is expected to meet Putin at the 2015 Moscow Victory Day parade in Moscow's Red Square on 9 May.

The parade commemorates the anniversary of the destruction of Nazism in 1945 and the Allied victory during the Second World War.