Babiš’s words outraged the Poles and were noticed in Lithuania

Michaela Danelova

The words of MP and presidential candidate Andrej Babiš (ANO), who questioned Czech aid in case of an attack on Poland, have attracted attention on the Czech political scene as well as in the neighboring country and other allies. Babiš later corrected his words, which he uttered in a presidential debate on Czech television, with a statement on Twitter. His comments were also noticed in Lithuania and Romania.

“Surprising words from a presidential candidate,” the Polish public radio station wrote on Sunday evening about Babiš’s remarks in the debate. And he was far from the only one.

Babiš’s words were also recorded by the Polish news agency PAP, the TVP station, and the Do Rzeczy website, which is otherwise close to the ruling PiS party. The website warns readers that the situation has changed dramatically compared to a month ago, and Babiš has a good chance of winning the election. Most websites have noticed the subsequent correction on Twitter, but they pause over the words in the TV debate.

However, the most affected article seems to be on the Polish version of the Business Insider website. It presents Babis as “the Czech Donald Trump and the most controversial politician in our region.”

“The presidential candidate is also not one of Poland’s greatest friends. Years ago, he called our food “shit” and recently ignited a conflict over the Turów power plant, which his government failed to resolve,” recalls journalist Jakub Ceglarz.

He describes Babis as an “unsinkable” politician who enjoys high popularity among a part of the population. “He is accused of blackmail, money laundering, and concealing assets. And he is coming back anyway,” the text reads.

Even the editor of, Bartłomiej Wypartowicz did not hide his shock at Sunday’s words about his unwillingness to support Poland in the event of a military attack. “Fellow Czechs, there is no need to apologize in private messages. Babiš’s words, not yours,” he reassured his Twitter followers, adding an archive photo of Peter Paul with Pope John Paul II to the post.

Similarly, the influential Visegrad24 Twitter account, which reports on events in Central Europe, reassured users. It shared the reaction of People’s Party MEP Tomáš Zdechovský, who wrote that the Czech Republic would come to their aid if any alliance partners were militarily attacked.

“Certainly not”. The Lithuanians also noted

The former prime minister and contender for the highest constitutional office upset the Poles and our allies in the Baltic states, which feel most threatened by the Russian Federation for geographical reasons. The LRT server put Babiš’s words, “Definitely not,” in the headline.

The Romanian website Ziare summarizes the essence of the controversy succinctly. “A former prime minister from a NATO country announces that he will not fight Russia in the event of a Putin attack in Europe.”

“We are a member of NATO, based on the principle of one for all, all for one. The government knows it, and most of society supporting membership in the Alliance knows it. MP Babiš should also know it because it is a key guarantee of the Czech Republic’s security,” said Defence Minister Jana Černochová (ODS).

She later looked at Babiš’s claim to be a diplomat on Twitter. She described the assurances of 29 NATO allies that the Czech Republic would bail them out if they were attacked as a “great diplomatic masterstroke.”

Babiš was responding to a moderator’s question in a televised debate in which he faced off against his opponent, Petr Pavel, about whether the Czech Republic should send troops to help Poland or the Baltic states, which are Czech NATO allies if they are attacked.

“No, definitely not. I want peace, and I don’t want war. And in no way would I send our children and our wives’ children to war,” he said.

Babiš corrected himself on Twitter

Babiš later corrected himself on Twitter, saying he did not want to answer the hypothetical question at all in the duel. “I’m convinced it won’t happen, and I don’t want to admit it. It is the responsibility of the world’s politicians to prevent war,” wrote Babiš, who has built part of his presidential campaign on the theme of war and peace.

“But if there were a real attack, I would abide by Article 5. There is no debate about that,” he added, referring to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization article. Notably, he did not post anything on Facebook, which most of his supporters use more than Twitter.

“The idea that we would hypothetically have a president who makes a completely mute statement on a key security issue on live television and only in hindsight when he realizes what an avalanche and international embarrassment he has triggered, he starts to backpedal. I think that is a strong motivation not to let this happen!” said Marian Jurečka, Labour Minister and head of the People’s Party.

According to Senator Miroslava Němcová (ODS), Babiš has disgraced the Czech Republic with the Poles, Latvians, Lithuanians, and Estonians. “This is the diplomacy of a ragamuffin and a buffoon, which plunges the Czech Republic into international isolation and contempt. We must stop him on Friday and Saturday!” she wrote on the upcoming second round of elections.