Thousands protest Russian invasion of Ukraine in Prague and Brno

Plus: Czech Republic closes airspace to Russian airlines, Czech officials push for tougher sanctions on Russia, and more weekend headlines.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 26.02.2022 12:10:00 (updated on 27.02.2022) Reading time: 5 minutes

Protests 80,000 protest Russian invasion in Prague's Wenceslas Square

Thousands of people gathered in Prague's Wenceslas Square this afternoon to protest the Russian invasion of Ukraine in one of the largest demonstrations against the invasion held in Prague to date. The demonstration, organized by Milion chvilek pro demokracii, began at 2:00 p.m. this afternoon and features speakers and musical acts. According to police estimates, 70,000-80,000 people took part in today's protest in Prague

A demonstration against the Russian invasion at Brno's Dominican Square, meanwhile, was attended by an estimated 5,000 people earlier today. "Putin is the master of evil, nothing entitles him to occupy a sovereign state," Brno Mayor Markéta Vaňková stated, comparing Putin to Harry Potter villain Voldemort. The Brno square was so crowded protesters spilled onto side streets during the demonstration.

Ukraine Czech government to approve more military support for Ukraine

The Czech government will approve an additional shipment of weapons and military equipment to Ukraine at an emergency meeting today, Prime Minister Petr Fiala told CNN Prima News this morning. The transport should take place as soon as this afternoon, following a shipment of 188 million crowns worth of guns and ammunition this morning. The value of the next shipment is estimated to be 400 million crowns.

The Czech government's emergency meeting is scheduled to take place from 12:30. According to Fiala, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has specifically asked for weapons, missile systems, and military equipment. "I took all necessary measures to find out whether we are able to supply the weapons," Fiala said. "I concluded that yes, we were."

Russia Czech Minister urges EU to stop granting Russians Schengen visas

Czech Interior Minister Vít Rakušan will propose that European Union states suspend the procedure of granting Schengen visas to Russian nationals, he told Czech Television today. Rakušan added that this is the official position of the Czech Republic, which has suspended issuing visas to Russian nationals.

While the Czech Republic is not issuing visas to Russians, however, they may be able to arrive in another European country in the Schengen zone and eventually reach the Czech Republic, Rakušan pointed out. While the sanctions affect even those who disagree with actions taken by the Russian government, Rakušan noted that they must be widespread to be effective.

Sanctions Czech PM presses for removal of Russia from SWIFT system

Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala supports the exclusion of Russia from the SWIFT international banking system as a result of the invasion of Ukraine, he told CNN Prima News this morning. Fiala discussed the matter with Polish PM Mateusz Morawiecki yesterday, and asked him to convey the Czech Republic's position with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

The European Commission, the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Britain agreed on cutting off Russia from the SWIFT international system, EC President Ursula von der Leyen said on Saturday. Despite some initial reluctance, Germany now supports this decision as well.

Saturday, February 27

14:07 Russia closes airspace to Czech, Polish, and Bulgarian airlines

Russia has closed its airspace to Czech, Polish and Bulgarian airlines, Interfax reported today, based on information from the Russian Federal Aviation Agency Rosaviacija. The move was taken in retaliation after the Czech Republic, Poland, and Bulgaria closed their airspace to Russian aircraft on Friday.

On Thursday, Britain banned Russian aircraft from landing on its territory. In reaction to this, Moscow banned British airlines from entering Russian airspace, a major route between Europe and Asia.

Ukraine Czech Republic to send additional weapons to Ukraine

The Czech Republic has agreed to send machine guns, submachine guns, sniper rifles, handguns, and ammunition to Ukraine, the Ministry of Defence announced this morning. The total value of the latest shipment of weaponry is approximately 188 million crowns.

"Machine guns, submachine guns, sniper rifles, pistols and ammunition worth 7.6 million EUR," the Ministry tweeted on Saturday. "This morning, the Czech government approved further military assistance to Ukraine, which is under attack by Russia. Our aid and support continues." To date, a total of 27 countries have pledged to send Ukraine military aid.

Sports Czech tennis star Jiří Veselý advances to final in Dubai

Czech tennis player Jiří Veselý defeated sixth-seeded Canadian Denis Shapovalov 6-7, 7-6, 7-6 in a hard-fought semifinal match at the Dubai Tennis Championships yesterday. Veselý will face second-seeded Russian Andrey Rublev today in the final match in Dubai, which begins at 4:00 p.m. Prague time.

The unseeded Veselý continues an incredible run after defeating top-seeded Novak Djokovic 6-4, 7-6 in quarterfinal action. Veselý, 28, reached a career-high ATP ranking of 35 in 2015. With an ATP ranking of 123, He is currently the second-ranked Czech behind Jiří Lehečka (93) in the ATP Tour. Djokovic is first in the latest ATP rankings, with Rublev at seventh.

Transport Czech Republic closes airspace to Russian airlines

The Czech Republic has joined Poland and Belarus in closing their airspace to aircraft operated by all Russian airlines, including national carrier Aeroflot, Czech Transport Minister Martin Kupka has announced. The ban on Russian aircraft, in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, has taken effect as of Saturday morning.

"I have ordered a government resolution to close Polish airspace for Russian airlines," Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki wrote on Facebook yesterday. On Thursday, Britain banned Russian aircraft from flying over its territory. Russia responded by banning British planes from flying over its territory, a major transport route from Europe to Asia.

History Czech politicians pay respects to victims of communism

Czech Chamber of Deputies chairwoman Markéta Pekarová Adamová and other Czech politicians paid respects to victims of communism in Prague on Friday. A short ceremony at the Czech capital's memorial to the victims of communism took place on the 74th anniversary of the Communist Party's takeover of Czechoslovakia in February 1948.

"We are commemorating the anniversary of the totalitarian regime really gaining ground here, when the divide between the quasi-democratic Czechoslovakia and the genuine totalitarian system started in our country," Pekarová Adamová said. "And we want to remember not the act, but all the victims caused by the events and subsequent years and decades."

Protests Thousands demonstrate against Russian invasion in Prague and Brno

Demonstrations against Russia's invasion of Ukraine were staged in Prague's Wenceslas Square and outside the general consulate of Russia in Brno on Friday evening. An estimated 2,000 people protested outside the Brno consulate, while hundreds gathered in central Prague.

Protesters in both cities carried the flags of Ukraine, NATO and the EU, as well as posters calling for peace and solidarity with Ukraine. Some carried posters calling Russian President Vladimir Putin a war criminal, comparing him to Adolf Hitler, while others displayed statements such as "Russians Are Murderers" or "Ivan, Go Home."

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