Czech daily news roundup: Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Prague refugee center registers over 18,000 Ukrainians, Czech schools look to employ Ukrainian teachers, Babiš is frontrunner for next Czech President. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 09.03.2022 09:25:00 (updated on 09.03.2022) Reading time: 5 minutes

16:41 Polls shows Czechs reluctant to take Ukrainians into their homes

Although the Czech Republic is supporting Ukrainians after their country's invasion by Russia, most Czechs would not accept refugees into their homes, according to a poll conducted by the European National Panels with cooperation from Nielsen Admosphere, NMS Market Research and the STEM/MARK agency. In Poland, almost every other person is willing to take a refugee into their home, but in Czechia the figure is less than 30 percent.

14:45 Slovakia approves major Czech troop deployment

The Slovak cabinet has today approved a possible deployment in the country of up to 2,100 troops from six NATO states, including 600 Czechs, to reinforce NATO's eastern flank bordering Ukraine. The proposal will now go to the Slovak parliament for approval, where it is expected to pass. The arrival of NATO troops is a response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which has shocked Central and Eastern European countries into bolstering their defense capabilities. "This is the biggest step for national defense since the foundation of independent Slovakia," said Defense Minister Jaroslav Naď.

13:53 Czech politicians call for humanitarian no-fly zone in Ukraine

Ten Czech MPs and Senators have called on Prime Minister Petr Fiala to launch talks about the creation of a limited "humanitarian no-fly zone" over Ukraine. Their stance was presented in an open letter, calling on Fiala to negotiate on the issue with neighboring countries as well as states outside NATO, such as Sweden and Finland. "We definitely do not want a direct military confrontation with the Russian Federation, we are just seeking any acceptable option to prevent attacks on civilian inhabitants and Ukrainian refugees at least in the Western part of the Ukraine," they said.

13:00 Czech Academy of Sciences launches Ukraine cooperation

The Czech Academy of Sciences has launched new cooperation with Ukrainian researches in recent days. The program consists of providing fellowship stays for scientists from Ukraine in light of the Russian invasion of their home country. Researchers now working at the Academy of Sciences include workers in physics, biology, and physiology and genetics. The entry of Ukrainians into Czech higher education follows a statement last week from Czech academics and the Education Ministry encouraging Ukrainian researchers to join a broad spectrum of state-financed projects.

11:15 People In Need launches emergency helpline in Ukrainian

Czech charity People In Need has launched an emergency phone line in Ukrainian for refugees in need in Czechia. The organization has been spearheading fundraising efforts to provide humanitarian aid to Ukrainian refugees, raising some CZK 1.3 billion since the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24. The new phone line for Ukrainians is available at 770 600 800, and will be available from 09:00 to 17:00 from Monday to Friday. Nine Ukrainians will operate the line providing assistance and advice.

Refugee crisis Prague refugee center registers over 18,000 Ukrainians

The Assistance Center for refugees in Prague registered 3,667 applicants on Tuesday, the highest daily number since war broke out in Ukraine on February 24. The total number of Ukrainian refugees served since the start of the war has reached 18,602, according to Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib.

Accommodation was secured for 170 refugees in Prague on Tuesday. Meanwhile, 218 people were taken by coach to assistance centers located in other Czech regions. Around a quarter of arriving refugees in Czechia head for Prague; resultant overcrowding has led to moves to transport some arrivals elsewhere.

Employment Czech schools look to employ Ukrainian teachers

Teachers from Ukraine could be employed at Czech schools if they meet professional qualification requirements and Czech language ability conditions. But the Education Ministry is also looking at the possibility for school principals to employ those without qualifications on the basis of an exemption from the law provided by the government.

In such cases, individual schools would assess the Czech language level of the given applicant, while Ukrainians could also work in non-teaching roles. The suggestion comes as the Czech state looks to find ways to make integration into Czech working life as easy as possible for Ukrainian refugees; the government is also looking to allow Ukrainians to work without obtaining a work permit.

Poll Babiš is frontrunner for next Czech President

A poll conducted by the Median agency to find out the favorite to win the next Czech presidential election, to be held next year, has found that Andrej Babiš is the favorite to win with clear support from around 26 percent of the population. The next most-popular candidate is retired General Petr Pavel, with 16 percent support.

Czech Presidential elections operate on a two-round voting system; if one candidate does not obtain an outright (more than 50 percent) majority in the first round of voting, a second round run-off takes place with only the top two candidates from the first round left. As the poll results indicate, the vote is certain to go to a second round, and given Babiš’s divisiveness as a political figure, he may still struggle to get the 50 percent support needed to win.

Russia V4 states and Britain agree need to cut out Russian energy

In a visit to London yesterday, Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala agreed with other Visegrád Four leaders and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on the necessity to reduce energy dependence on Russia, and that joint steps are required to tackle the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Britain announced yesterday that it would completely phase out the purchase of Russian oil by the end of this year.

Fiala said the leaders also discussed the possible diplomatic isolation of Russia; a viable step for Czechia given the diplomatic rift which has already widened between Prague and Moscow since revelations of Russian covert operations in the Czech Republic emerged last year.

Art and culture Three Czech women receive French state award

French Ambassador to Prague Alexis Dutertre presented three Czech women with the Order of the Arts and Letters, a French state honor, on the occasion of International Women’s Day yesterday. Journalist Irena Jirků, illustrator Lucie Lomová, and writer and painter Lenka Horňáková-Civade received the prestigious award.

The Order of the Arts and Letters is given to personalities who have contributed with their artistic and literary work to the culture of France and the world as a whole. Previous recipients include Czechoslovak filmmaker Jiří Menzel, poet Petr Král, opera singer Magdalena Kožená, and writer Bohumil Hrabal, as well as former Czech President and playwright Václav Havel.

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