As collections for Ukraine begin in Czechia, Prague's Petřín Tower will light up in support

The city has announced it'll light up the landmark tower today and tomorrow in solidarity with Ukraine, while NGOs are setting up giving campaigns.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 22.02.2022 16:41:00 (updated on 25.02.2022) Reading time: 3 minutes

Prague city officials have announced that the Petřín Tower will light up in blue and yellow Tuesday, Feb. 22, in solidarity with Ukraine. The tower will light up on Wednesday as well. The lighting will take place at 5:50 p.m.

Last week, Prague councilors adopted a declaration of solidarity with the mayor of Kyiv, Vitaly Klitschko, and Ukraine. Today city officials condemned the Russian aggression and expressed support not only for Kyiv but also for Ukraine as a whole.

"Prague and Kyiv share a similar experience with totalitarian regimes, and both cities profess democratic values. My personal meeting with the local mayor, Vitaly Klitschko, showed that Ukrainians value every show of solidarity and support. We are now waiting for specific requirements and we remain in contact," said Prague mayor Zdeněk Hřib in a statement.

Hřib, visited the Ukrainian capital with Warsaw mayor Rafal Trzaskowski last week. The mayors extended Kyiv an offer of membership in the Free Cities Pact.

"Our nation experienced a similar situation in 1938 and 1968. It's sad that the day of the eight-year anniversary of Maidan and the dismissal of President Yanukovych is celebrated by Russia with the entry of Russian troops into Ukraine," said city councilor Jan Chabr.

A large community of Ukrainians resides in Prague. Among foreigners with a registered temporary or permanent residence in the Czech Republic in 2021, a total of almost 70,000 Ukrainians are reported to live in the metropolis.

Earlier today, the Ukrainian embassy in Prague condemned the Russian decision to recognize the independence of the "quasi units" of the self-proclaimed republics in eastern Ukraine.

The Czech Foreign Ministry has also condemned the Russian Federation's decision to recognize the independence of the so-called Donetsk People's Republic and Luhansk People's Republic, with foreign Minister Jan Lipavský calling the country's actions "a gross violation of international law, territorial integrity of Ukraine, and a violation of the Minsk agreements."

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Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala said Russia's aggression toward Ukraine recalled the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia, stating "The Czech Republic supports free and independent Ukraine and remembers from its own history that similar steps against sovereign neighboring states never lead to peace."

Michal Smetana, an analyst from the Institute of Political Studies of the Faculty of Social Sciences in Prague said the latest developments in Russian-Ukrainian relations will increase the likelihood of further escalation of the crisis and the option of a diplomatic solution has diminished.

Two NGOs, Caritas of the Czech Republic and Post Bellum which administers the archives of the Memory of Nations, have launched collections to help the population of Ukraine, they said Tuesday. Contributions to the collection launched by Post Bellum can be made through the portal Darujme.cz.

The collected money will be sent to the Ukrainian organization Come Back Alive for the purchase of health and defense material. Caritas has set aside half a million crowns from its crisis fund.

Gifts can also be sent to Ukraine via NGO People in Need. The money will be used for humanitarian help to the people in the areas with fighting as well as those who will have to flee their homes.

The Czech Red Cross has been helping Ukraine since 2014. It now intends to support mobile medical teams by supplying cars, medical tents, and surgical kits. Donations by bank transfer intended for Ukraine should be tagged with the variable code 1502.

Karel Janeček's Nadační fond pomoci endowment fund is collecting money under the auspices of the non-profit organization ADRA, which has a branch in Ukraine. It provides humanitarian assistance and basic necessities to displaced people in eastern Ukraine. Information on donating is on their website. People can also donate by Bitcoin. If they scan a QR code on the website.

The Czech Brethren Evangelical Church (CCE) and the CCE Diaconate together have released half a million crowns for immediate aid to Ukraine. Now the aid is going to support people in Ukraine, but the organization is also ready to support refugees who leave the country. 

UNICEF has been present in Ukraine since 2014. It works with local and international partners to provide health care, education, protection, water, and sanitation to children and their families. Donations can be made specifically to help out in Ukraine via an online donation form or by DMS.

The Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia are bracing for an influx of refugees. Martin Rozumek, director of the Organisation for Aid to Refugees NGO, told Al Jazeera that “the Czech government and society will be quite open and ready to help should Ukrainian refugees arrive”.

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