Will the Czech Republic send more troops to Russia’s borders because of the Russia-Ukraine crisis? This is the question that preoccupies Czech politicians. The government camp is more in favor. The opposition is cautious.
“I am clearly in favor of diplomacy and the use of all diplomatic means. Everyone should now do their utmost to de-escalate to avoid war and any armed conflict,” ANO chief Andrej Babiš said.
Pavel Žáček (ODS), the security committee chairman, favors strengthening the Czech contingent in the east and believes that the possible increase will pass the parliament without any problems. “The line that needs to be covered is long, from Estonia to Romania, and we will certainly participate in this deterrence proportionally as needed,” Žáček mentioned.
Ondřej Kolář (TOP 09), the vice-chairman of the European Affairs Committee, will undoubtedly support the strengthening. “It is needed because Russia is increasingly showing itself as a sleeping aggressor. Nobody knows what it will come up with, and we should show it that its adversary, as it calls us, is united and strong because Russia is the only one that understands it,” Kolář noted.
Engineers and pilots
Paradoxically, SPD chairman Tomio Okamura favors sending troops to some of the alliance countries. “If, for example, Hungary or Slovakia, which are close partners, ask for our help, we will vote in favor,” Okamura said. Yesterday, he accused the government of wanting to plunge the Czech Republic into a war with Russia and referred to government politicians as “warmongers.”
The Czech army has been operating in the NATO mission in the Baltics and Poland for several years. There are currently 130 soldiers from the Strakonice anti-aircraft regiment in Lithuania and 75 engineers in Latvia. For the fourth time, five Gripen fighter jets and up to 95 pilots, technicians, and other military personnel are scheduled to fly to the Baltic republics for three months, from April to June this year.