Pavel to Le Monde: Talks with Russian command almost impossible

The Czech president elect told the French publication that in this phase of the war in Ukraine, Russia must first show willingness to negotiate. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 07.03.2023 09:53:00 (updated on 07.03.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

President-elect Petr Pavel told French daily Le Monde that it is almost impossible to talk with the Russian command in this phase of the war in Ukraine, Russia must first show willingness to negotiate and submit at least a framework peace draft.

"How can you talk to someone who is waging an aggressive war, sending missiles at civilian targets almost every day, and threatening the world with a nuclear apocalypse?" Pavel said. He maintains that Moscow must first change its position.

Retired general Pavel also supported sending more weapons to Ukraine. That country now mainly needs more ground-force equipment, especially tanks, armored vehicles, and artillery, he said.

Sending fighter jets at this stage would probably complicate the situation because it takes at least six months to supply new aircraft and train pilots for them, but they could be sent in the long term.

Czechia has already reached its limits in terms of supporting Ukraine with heavy military equipment, Pavel said. But Prague could eventually send some of the 14 Leopard 2A4 tanks it would get from Germany to Ukraine, even though this would pose some risk to Czechia's defense capability.

Czechia can't be a bridge between East and West

Le Monde also asked Pavel about the "pro-Russian and pro-Chinese stances" of previous presidents Václav Klaus and Miloš Zeman. Both shared the idea of playing the role of a bridge between the West and the East, Pavel said, adding that he considered this "a very strange ambition."

There is no position in the middle, and Czechia must realize what kind of world it belongs to, namely to democracies, not to authoritarian regimes, Pavel stressed.

Asked about the Visegrád Four Group, among which Hungary has fundamentally different views of support for Ukraine and relations with Russia, Pavel said a very serious debate on the future of the group must start. The V4 group includes Czechia, Slovakia, Hungary, and Poland.

"The Hungarian leadership is not here forever either. There will be a change sooner or later," he said, referring to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.

Pavel is a hero in France

Le Monde began their story by reminding people that Pavel, a former Chief of Staff of the Czech Army, was decorated with the Legion of Honor and the Cross of French Military Valor for his role in the rescue of around 50 French soldiers trapped by Serbian and Croatian fire during the war in Bosnia in 1993. Pavel will be inaugurated as president on March 9.

Would you like us to write about your business? Find out more