Czech daily news roundup: Friday, April 15, 2022

Czech Senate chairman evokes Havel, Interior Minister comments on Romani refugees, and Easter holidays begin in Czechia. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 15.04.2022 08:28:00 (updated on 15.04.2022) Reading time: 4 minutes

Media Slovak defense minister to NYT: Putin equal to Hitler

Russian President Vladimir Putin is “equal to Hitler,” Slovak Defense Minister Jaroslav Nad has said in an interview for The New York Times (NYT). Prior to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, it was unthinkable for Slovakia to send for free a large number of basic arms, let alone an anti-aircraft defense system, across the eastern border, Nad said. "The paradigm is completely different now,” he said. "Now we are a frontline state,” he added, warning that war was at the Slovak border and over 330,000 Ukrainians had come to the country Putin “is equal to Hitler” and must be stopped in Ukraine before he can make moves towards the West, Nad said. “Ukraine is literally fighting for our future."

The NYT feature is devoted to the Slovak delivery of the S-300 air defense system to Ukraine. Slovak Prime Minister Eduard Heger confirmed its shipment to Ukraine last week. Nad dismissed Russia's claim that it had destroyed the S-300 system delivered from a European country when hitting a hangar near the town of Dnipro. NYT warns that other NATO countries, too, are sending bigger and better arms to Ukraine than before, including the T-72M tanks and short-range air defense systems from the Czech Republic.

UKRAINE Czech Senate head in Kyiv: Concessions to dictators never work

Concessions to dictators have never worked, Czech Senate chairman Miloš Vystrčil said in a speech to the Supreme Council in Kyiv Thursday, rejecting the possibility that Ukraine would lose Crimea but Donbas as well. Vystrčil expressed support for the renewal of the territorial integrity of Ukraine, recalling the Munich Agreement that allowed Nazi Germany to seize the border areas of then Czechoslovakia in 1938.

Vystrčil accused President Vladimir Putin of launching a barbaric and brutal war in ruthless pursuit of power and called for Putin and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko to be punished for war crimes in Ukraine. He added that Ukraine needs more visits from politicians, weapons, and humanitarian aid. Paraphrasing late Czech president Václav Havel, he told members of the Ukrainian parliament that he hopes "Ukrainian truth and love win over Russian lies and hatred."

Good Friday is celebrated in some 40 countries around the world, such as Britain, Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Scandinavia, Australia, Brazil, Canada, and Cuba. It was also a holiday in former Czechoslovakia but was abolished during the communist regime in 1951. Since 2016, Good Friday has been a holiday in the Czech Republic again. Read more about how the Czech Republic celebrates Easter here and here.

Inequality Czech Internior Minister denies unequal treatment of Romani refugees

Interior Minister Vít Rakušan denies that Romani people fleeing Ukraine are given unequal treatment in Czechia, saying it is often necessary to provide larger-capacity accommodation to Roma refugees, who tend to flee in larger groups. Rakušan made his remarks in response to information published by the news server, which reported on specific cases of unequal treatment of Roma fleeing Ukraine. The interior minister rejected the idea that refugees were treated according to skin color. "On the other hand, we have to admit that this group has specific housing needs. We are trying to meet our government regulations to find accommodation that will meet the possibilities for people to be willing to stay there," he added.

Zoo Chinese pangolins from the Taipei Zoo arrive in Prague

A pair of Chinese pangolins from the Taipei Zoo arrived in Prague Thursday, Prague Zoo director Miroslav Bobek said on Twitter. The pangolins will be in quarantine for several weeks. Visitors will be able to see the pangolins in the Indonesian Jungle pavilion in the Prague Zoo from mid-May. Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib said the pangolins were gifted to the city as part of the Prague-Taipei sister city pact which Prague signed with the capital of Taiwan in 2020.

Sports Women's tennis Billie Jean King Cup opens in Prague

A match between Czechia's Markéta Vondroušová and Britain's Harriet Dart will open the qualification round for the women's tennis Billie Jean King Cup at the Stvanice tennis courts in Prague Friday afternoon. Lots were ceremoniously drawn by a six-year-old Ukrainian boy Thursday. A match between Tereza Martincová and the UK's Emma Raducanu will follow.

On Saturday, the teams' number one and number four will compete; the qualification will end with doubles. The winner advances to the BJK tournament final (Nov. 8-13). Last year, Prague hosted the final tournament won by the Russian team. Russia will not defend its victory, having been expelled from the competition, along with the Belarusian team. Czechs are tournament favorites as the British have less experience playing on clay.

Weather Easter holidays will see cold weather

While Thursday saw temperatures soar over 20 degrees Celsius throughout the Czech Republic, Friday will bring colder weather which is expected to last for the remainder of the Easter holidays. Snowfall may even appear in the lower regions though cloudy conditions are most likely to dominate the weekend weather, according to the latest forecast from the Czech Hydrometeorological Institute.

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