Czech diplomats return to abandoned embassy in Kyiv

Zeman supports U.S. defense pact but not a base, trade unions calls for pay rises due to inflation, Belarusian opposition office in Prague moves forward.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 13.04.2022 09:32:00 (updated on 13.04.2022) Reading time: 5 minutes

15:49 Czech diplomats are back in Kyiv

Czech diplomats have re-entered their embassy in Kyiv, the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced on Twitter. The Ministry said the return of embassy staff to Kyiv is another sign of Czechia's support for Ukraine. The embassy has been closed since the Russian invasion began at the end of February. The consulate general office in Lviv was also closed due to the invasion.

"The Czech flag has flown again in Kyiv, Czech diplomats are back. This is one of the many steps we support Ukraine. Czechia has stood and will always stand with Ukraine," tweeted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

15:20 Government approves migration crisis strategy

The government has approved strategic priorities for dealing with the refugee wave from Ukraine. A new position of National Coordinator for the crisis was established, to be held temporarily by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior Vít Rakušan. The Interior Minister said the first phase of the crisis is now over and longer-term solutions must now be considered. The government strategy will now be sent to employers, trade unions, regions, and NGO representatives.

13:32 Nurse acquitted of murder to receive compensation

Czech nurse Věra Marešová, acquitted of six counts of murder committed against patients in a hospital in January 2016, will receive CZK 2.27 million in compensation for unlawful prosecution having spent over a year in custody due to the case. The nurse was dubbed by some media as the "Nurse of Death." She was charged in 2014 with killing six patients at a hospital in North Bohemia, after an investigation was triggered by the death of one patient. She was suspected of having murdered the victims using potassium, but was later acquitted on all counts.

12:30 Half of Czechs feel the effects of the 'information war'

52 percent of Czechs and 40 percent of Slovaks believe their countries are being targeted in an information war waged by Russia, according to a poll conducted by Ipsos for the Central European Digital Media Observatory. 41 percent of Czechs over the age of 18 approve of the blocking of disinformation websites, the research found. Conversely, 15 percent of Czechs believe the information war is a western concoction designed to curtail freedom speech and silence independent journalism. Most people believing an information war is underway with Russia are under the age of 30 with higher education, according to Ipsos.

Military Zeman supports US defense pact but not a base

Czech President Miloš Zeman has weighed in on the debate around the establishment of a permanent U.S. military base in Czechia. Zeman said he supports talks on a new defense agreement between the Czech Republic and the U.S., but would not support the creation of a permanent U.S. military base in the country.

Most other countries in Central Europe have a defense agreement with the U.S.A., and Minister of Defense Jana Černochová is keen to negotiate a similar agreement in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. But she appeared to take U.S. officials by surprise in raising the possibility of a permanent U.S. base last weekend, and Prime Minister Petr Fiala said it is pointless to discuss this possibility because nobody has offered it to Czechia.

Kyiv Czechia considering returning diplomats to Ukraine

The Czech Republic is considering all possible steps to return normal diplomatic relations with Ukraine, Prime Minister Petr Fiala said last night. Fiala said he could not go into details about the re-opening of a Czech embassy in Kyiv and consulate general in Lviv for security reasons.

Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský had earlier said the Czech government is making efforts to return diplomats to Ukraine. Slovakia has already announced the return of diplomats to Kyiv, with Foreign Minister Ivan Korčok announcing the move on Twitter yesterday. A Slovak diplomatic team will head to the Ukrainian capital to assess the security situation before the renewal of operations in the city “immediately” if circumstances permit.

Belarus Belarusian opposition office in Prague moves forward

A project to establish a representative office for the Belarusian opposition in exile in Prague is moving forward, with Czech President Miloš Zeman asking Prime Minister Petr Fiala to put the plan in motion at a meeting yesterday. A year ago, Zeman promised a local office to Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya.

Fiala said the proposal is “very important to the President,” and that the office would be a “kind of liaison office or Belarusian House, to help Belarusian students who oppose the Lukashenko regime and want to study in the Czech Republic.” Tsikhanouskaya was in Prague in June last year and discussed the plan for an office with Zeman.

Economy Trade unions calls for pay rises due to inflation

Czech trade unions have called for pay rises and an increase to the minimum wage this year in response to steeply rising consumer prices. Středula told reporters that “we would like to launch negotiations about salaries and an extraordinary pay rise for 2022, and an extraordinary increase in the minimum wage by the middle of the year at the latest.”

Středula described it as “unacceptable” that employees and workers should be the ones to pay the price of inflation, noting that pensions are already scheduled to increase as of June to meet the higher costs of living. Prime Minister Petr Fiala said the government may consider measures to soften the impacts of inflation but it does not want to take blanket steps, warning against an “inflationary spiral” in which higher wages make inflation permanent.

Auto Industry Škoda introduces new, cheaper Fabia model

Škoda Auto, the Czech Republic’s biggest car brand, has introduced a new, cheaper model of the Škoda Fabia . The new model is being presented as a way of recapturing public interest after a downturn in car sales and production during the Covid pandemic and consequent economic downturn.

The carmaker has previously only sold its cheapest models outside Europe, partly due to EU regulations which make it difficult to sell stripped-back models on the European market. But after severe production problems caused by a lack of parts, the cheaper Fabia model is being presented as a way of recapturing Czech new car buyers.

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