Czech news for Feb. 24: Prague pays tribute to volunteers for refugee assistance

The top headlines in brief for the Czech Republic on Friday, Feb. 24, 2023. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 24.02.2023 10:08:00 (updated on 27.02.2023) Reading time: 3 minutes

EVENT Prague mayor applauds volunteers during Ukraine crisis

New mayor of Prague Bohuslav Svoboda attended a commemorative event at Prague's main train station (Hlavní nádraží) this afternoon, marking one year since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The city thanked volunteers and organizations for helping refugees, many of whom passed through the train station during their journey over the past year. A panel photo exhibition “Stories of Gratitude” showcases stories of those forced to flee war. Svoboda, whose name translates to “freedom” in English, said via Twitter that solidarity is a trait that Czechs can be proud of.

POLITICS Zeman and Pavel admire Ukrainian courage

President Miloš Zeman and his soon-to-be successor Petr Pavel today condemned Russia’s sustained attack on Ukraine and called for courage in the months ahead. Zeman, who has previously been accused of having overly warm relations with the Kremlin, gave a voice to his thoughts: "I like Russian culture, I respect the victims of the Russian people in World War II, but this does not mean I agree with foreign troops entering the territory of a sovereign state.” Pavel said today that the courage of Ukrainians is “inspirational,” and pledged full support to the country.

SPORT Top Czech snowboarder 'ready' for World Championships

Czech snowboarder Eva Adamczyková said at a press conference today that she feels well-prepared for the upcoming Freestyle Snowboarding World Championships that will take place in Georgia next week.

Adamczyková took a long break of absence from the sport after breaking both legs while snowboarding in December 2021. She is one of Czechia’s most renowned winter-sports figures, winning the Olympic gold medal in snowboard cross in 2014 and becoming the world champion in 2019.

UKRAINE Three-quarters of Czechs view Russian actions as 'indefensible'

A poll conducted by the Median polling agency finds that 75 percent of Czechs consider Russia’s actions towards Ukraine “indefensible,” a decline from 87 percent about 11 months ago. Notably, just half of all respondents expressed that they wanted Ukraine to win the war, with over one-third hoping that the war ends with no clear winner; that a peace treaty will be signed. Three-quarters of all respondents think that the war will last at least another year.

DIPLOMACY Lipavský calls for immediate end to war

Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský at a UN General Assembly meeting Thursday warned that “Russia must immediately and unconditionally” withdraw its forces and military from Ukraine. He also reminded world leaders that “any country” could become Russia’s next victim. Lipavský called for a special war-crimes tribunal to be established to deal with Russian activity in Ukraine. He also urged countries to resist the temptation of taking a neutral stance in the war.

MIDDLE EAST RELATIONS Fiala hails cooperation with UAE

Prime Minister Petr Fiala visited the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Thursday, where he discussed with President Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan cooperation in energy trade and the planned opening of the UAE’s new Prague embassy. Fiala noted that, along with Israel, the UAE is Czechia’s largest business partner in the Middle East. Fiala also praised the signing of a new contract between the Czech Excalibur Army and the UAE’s Resource Industries – two arms-manufacturing firms – that will see the UAE manufacture and supply Czech-style Tatra tanks.

UKRAINE Three in 4 Ukrainian refugees in Czechia want to return

About 75 percent of all Ukrainian refugees living in Czechia want to return home after the situation in their home country stabilizes, according to researchers from Charles University. However, many of those questioned said that if their partners or other immediate family members were to join them in Czechia after the war, then they would most likely stay. The average age of a refugee according to the survey was 40 years old.

BUSINESS Bill Gates buys Heineken share, affects Czech market

Billionaire Bill Gates has completed a USD 902 million (CZK 20 billion) purchase of a stake in the Dutch Heineken brewing company, which has a large market share in Czechia. Heineken occupies the third-biggest space in the Czech alcohol industry, after Plzeňské Prazdroj and Staropramen. It owns the Starobrno, Královský pivovar Krušovice, and Velké Březno breweries in Czechia. Read more in our story here.

UKRAINE Almost half a kiloton of medical aid sent to Ukraine from Czechia

According to a press release by the Czech Red Cross non-governmental organization, the charity sent 446 tons of medical aid worth CZK 139 million to Ukraine in the past 12 months. This helped around 330,000 refugees who fled the war. The Red Cross also donated 48 ambulance vehicles to the war-stricken country. The charity also announced that the public donates CZK 324 million from the Czech public since the war began.

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