A few countries have started a partial evacuation of their embassy employees from Ukraine due to potential military action from Russia. Still, the Czech Foreign Ministry is not going down the same path. However, the Czech State Department’s crisis staff will meet on Tuesday and will address, among other things, the necessary steps to protect employees and Czech citizens in Ukraine.
According to the spokesperson of the Ministry, Lenka Do, the Czech Foreign Ministry is not currently preparing for the evacuation of the embassy staff and their family members in Ukraine. A working group meets daily at the ministry to assess the situation in Ukraine.
The US and UK have already withdrawn diplomats’ families from Ukraine. The US state department ordered non-essential embassy staff and their families at the US embassy in Kyiv to leave the country amid fears of a Russian invasion. Similarly, on Monday, some British embassy staff withdrew from the capital of Ukraine.
The Czech Republic will provide military equipment to Ukraine
In an interview, Defence Minister Jana Černochová (ODS) stated that she would meet with the Ukrainian Chief of General Staff and submit a proposal to the Czech government for material assistance to Ukraine. She did not want to comment on whether she would support sending Czech soldiers to Ukraine. “If such a request came from Ukraine, we would take it very seriously and it would be discussed by all relevant bodies, including the government and both chambers of Parliament, following the official procedures.” But I still hope that something like this will not happen.
The proposal to the Czech government for material assistance in Ukraine will include the supply of military equipment and 152 mm of artillery ammunition to cover the current operational needs of Ukrainian forces in the form of a donation. Černochová recalled that Czechoslovakia once shared a common border with Ukraine and reassured that the Czech Republic is always willing to support the Ukrainian people.
The Defence Minister said that the Czech Republic still believes in a peaceful end to the crisis and that it is not in Russia’s interest to escalate the situation. “We believe in a peaceful solution. We hope that the bilateral agreements that are currently underway will have a happy ending and the situation will be better than it seems today,” Černochová said.
Foreign Minister warns for the worst-case scenario
However, according to the Foreign Minister, Jan Lipavský (Pirates), the Czech Republic is prepared for the worst-case scenario in Ukraine. He stated that the Czech Republic is ready to support possible sanctions against Russia. “The debate on this issue is currently underway, and we are actively participating in the discussions,” he added. He also stressed the need to maintain communication.
“As for international developments regarding security in Eastern Europe, they are taking place under pressure from the Russian Federation and under the blackmail tactics of the threat of an invasion of Ukraine. The Czech Republic’s position in this situation is firm, ” Lipavský said.
“The intelligence information at our disposal points to the concentration of a Russian army of about 100,000 in high combat readiness, which can attack from Crimea, from the east, and Belarus,” Lipavský warned.
He will visit Ukraine on February 7 and 8 with the Slovak and Austrian foreign ministers.
A rally in support of Ukraine was held in Prague
At the weekend, more than 100 people gathered on the Charles Bridge in Prague to show their allegiance with Ukraine as tensions with Russia rose. They sang and chanted as they held a large Ukrainian flag that partially spanned the bridge.