Czech news in brief for February 27: Tuesday's top headlines

V4 leaders to convene in Prague today, fifteen nations may join Czechia in sending ammo to Ukraine, gas consumption in Czechia hits 30-year low. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 27.02.2024 09:07:00 (updated on 27.02.2024) Reading time: 3 minutes

Politics Former Czech president hosts Fico, Orbán

Former Czech President Miloš Zeman hosted Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban at his Prague office amid a Visegrad Four (V4) summit. Simultaneously, President Petr Pavel met with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk at Prague Castle. While no official statements were planned after the meetings, the V4 prime ministers, differing on causes and forms of aid for Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, affirmed the continued relevance of the Central European group formed after communism’s fall. The weekend's controversial remarks by Fico on the Ukraine conflict drew criticism.

Crime Police launch investigation into Czech tennis

Police have accused four individuals and four entities of subsidy fraud and manipulating public contracts related to Czech Tennis Association (CTS) subsidies. The supervising prosecutor has revealed ongoing investigations with searches conducted in Prague and other locations. Details remain undisclosed during the criminal proceedings. Earlier, the National Centre against Organised Crime (NCOZ) police investigated CTS’s financial management and subsidy use. Reports suggest millions from CTS subsidies went to sports organization Orel Jednota Praha-Balkan, led by influential tennis figure Vojtech Flegl, a close aide to CTS president Ivo Kaderka.

Diplomacy V4 leaders to convene in Prague today

The Visegrad Group Prime Ministers will convene in Prague today to discuss energy security, the EU’s strategic agenda, migration prevention, and support for the International Visegrad Fund. Disagreements on Ukraine could strain the meeting, with divisions over Russia’s actions. Polish PM Donald Tusk questions the group’s relevance, citing discord on supporting Ukraine. Czech PM Petr Fiala emphasizes the need for dialogue despite differences. The meeting, delayed due to Slovak PM Robert Fico’s controversial remarks, aims for unity on crucial EU issues.

AID Dutch PM vows to join Czech ammo-aid to Ukraine

Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala estimates up to 15 nations may join the Czech-led initiative to procure artillery ammunition for Ukraine. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte pledges 100 million euros during a summit on aid to Ukraine. Purchase and delivery are anticipated in the coming "weeks or months." Fiala expects broad support, with negotiations ongoing. The initiative, first proposed by Czech President Petr Pavel in mid-February, aims to acquire hundreds of thousands of artillery pieces for Ukraine, estimated to cost $1.5 billion, with specific details yet to be confirmed.


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Sports Czech basketball advances with win over Britain

Czech basketball secured a historic 90-82 victory over Great Britain in the 2025 European Championship qualifier. Tomáš Satoranský’s double-double of 21 points and ten assists led the team to their first win. Despite coach Diego Ocampo acknowledging room for improvement, the Czechs celebrated a crucial home win with upcoming matches against the Netherlands.

Health Warm weather brings tick season early

Unusually warm February weather in the Czech Republic has increased tick activity in forested areas and city parks. Experts advise regular self-checks due to the risk of tick-borne diseases, such as Lyme disease and encephalitis. Vaccination against encephalitis is recommended now, with the first dose protecting after 1.5 months; boosters are necessary every three and five years post-initial vaccination.

Economy Gas consumption in Czechia hits 30-year low

Gas consumption in the Czech Republic hit a 30-year low in 2023, totaling 6.76 billion cubic meters—a 10.4 percent YoY drop. Households led the reduction with an 11.6 percent decrease. The majority of gas, 92 percent, flowed from Germany, with approximately 8 percent from Russia. Experts attribute the decline to high gas prices, economic slowdown, and warm weather. The Energy Regulatory Office reported a significant decrease in gas flow through the domestic gas system, with imports falling by over 71 percent YoY.

Tragedy Three Czechs die in Kyrgyzstan avalanche

Three Czech citizens died in an avalanche near the Kyrgyzstan-Kazakhstan border, the Czech Foreign Ministry confirmed. Earlier reports of four victims were corrected. The incident occurred in the Jyrgalan Valley, with a 23-member ski group, including Slovaks. Local authorities are collaborating with Czech diplomats investigating the tragedy. The identities of the deceased remain undisclosed. Kyrgyzstan, aiming to enhance its tourism industry, has eased entry conditions recently.

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