Ukraine crisis in Czechia: What's happening now (March 27)

A daily dispatch on how the war in Ukraine is impacting life in the Czech Republic.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 14.03.2022 15:33:00 (updated on 27.03.2022) Reading time: 25 minutes

March 27, 2022

Czech volunteers have already joined the fight in Ukraine, according to a photo featuring a Czech soldier in Irpin, near Kyiv, published to Twitter by Ukrainian journalist Illia Ponomarenko. Czech citizens must request permission in order to fight for foreign military forces; earlier this month, President Miloš Zeman and Prime Minister Petr Fiala announced that Czechs who wanted to fight for Ukraine would be granted a pardon in order to do so.

In the days following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy requested foreign volunteers join their military in efforts to defend the country. According to the Ukrainian Defence Ministry, an estimated 20,000 foreign soldiers have joined defense efforts. In the first few days following the invasion, the Czech Defence Ministry registered hundreds of requests to volunteer for the Ukrainian military.

  • VISAS As of Sunday morning, the Czech Republic has granted over 233,000 special visas to Ukrainian refugees, and about 3,000 on Saturday alone. The real number of Ukrainian refugees staying in the Czech Republic is likely higher; on Tuesday, Prime Minister Petr Fiala estimated their number at 300,000. Half of the refugees are children, and four-fifths of the adults are women.


  • DIPLOMACY The Russian Ambassador to the Czech Republic has been summoned by Deputy Foreign Minister Martin Smolek in the wake of harassment by Russian bodies at the Czech Embassy in Moscow. Details of the harassment were not revealed to media due to security concerns, but Smolek called on Russia to respect the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.


  • PROTEST Activists covered the stairs outside the Russian embassy in Prague with fake blood in protest against the Russian invasion of Ukraine on Saturday, and four people were detained by Czech police over the incident. Police consider the actions a misdemeanor, and have forwarded the case to the relevant administrative body.


  • MILITARY The Russian invasion of Ukraine will speed up the modernization of the Czech military, writes Czech newspaper Mladá fronta DNES this weekend, from statements made by Defense Minister Jana Černochová. According to DNES, Černochová wants to buy modern firearms, armored Pandur vehicles, and combat helicopters from the United States.

March 26, 2022

An 18-month-old girl with burns covering sixty percent of her body has been evacuated from Ukraine to the Czech Republic today, according to the Czech Ministry of the Interior. The girl was airlifted to Prague by Czech soldiers in cooperation with the country's MEDEVAC program, which transports patients abroad in need of medical treatment to the Czech Republic.

According to the Czech Ministry, the girl is in critical but stable condition, and continued care for her would not have been possible in Ukraine. She is the first burn victim to be transported from Ukraine to an EU member state for care since the beginning of the war with Russia.

  • VISAS The Czech Republic has now granted about 230,500 special visas to refugees fleeing from war in Ukraine since the war conflict started a month ago, and 3,600 on Friday alone. The total number of Ukrainian refugees in the Czech Republic is likely to be considerably higher. About half of the refugees are children, and around eighty percent of the adults are women.


  • DONATIONS Czech charities have raised over 2.15 billion crowns in financial aid for Ukraine over the past month, representatives from local NGOs told journalists on Friday. People in Need alone has raised 1.55 billion crowns. In addition, hundreds of millions of crowns have been donated directly to the Embassy of Ukraine in Prague.


  • POLITICS Czech Defence Minister Jana Černochová has sharply criticized Hungarian response to the war in Ukraine, tweeting that it is a shame that cheap Russian oil is more important for Hungarian politicians than Ukrainian blood. Černochová added that she would not attend a meeting between V4 defence ministers next week in advance of the April 3 general election in Hungary.


  • AID About 60,000 Ukrainian refugees have applied for the 5,000-crown humanitarian benefit, the Czech Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs Ministry said in a press release. "More than 56,000 of the 60,000 filed applications have been processed," said Labour Minister Marian Jurečka.

March 25, 2022

Political divisions on the Czech government's handling of the Ukrainian refugee crisis are starting to emerge, as former Prime Minister Andrej Babiš today accused Petr Fiala's government of putting Ukrainians above Czech citizens. Fiala responded that "by helping Ukrainians, we are also helping Czech citizens. What would Mr. Babiš have us do; leave them out on the streets?" Yet Fiala also said today that Czechia cannot cope with the refugee influx on its own and praised the EU's move to share the financial burden of the crisis.

  • SANCTIONS The EU and US are convinced that the sanctions so far put in place against Russia are working, according to Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala. Nonetheless, the impact of sanctions won't be visible in the immediate term. Fiala's assessment came as the EU discussed a possible additional round of sanctions with calls growing for EU energy dependency on Russia to be further reduced.
  • ZELENSKY In a speech to the European Council last night, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky criticized the EU for acting too slowly to stop Russian aggression. He also addressed individual member states, saying the Czech Republic had shown itself to be a strong ally, but singling out Hungary for criticism over its refusal to help Kyiv with arms supplies.
  • VISAS Almost 227,000 emergency visas for Ukrainian refugees have been issued in Czechia since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Nearly 4,000 were issued on Thursday. The highest concentration of refugees is in Prague; official statistics show that around 55,000 people have been assisted in Prague, but the real number of refugees in the capital is likely to be much higher.
  • AID All Ukrainian refugees holding emergency visas issued by the Czech government can use a web application to receive their humanitarian benefit of CZK 5,000 per month. The Czech Labor and Social Affairs Ministry tweeted about the benefit today. Until now, the money was only available to arrivals granted visas before March 8.
  • HEALTH Around half of the child refugees who have arrived in the Czech Republic from Ukraine since the Russian invasion of the country began on Feb. 24 have received all of the child vaccinations obligatory in the Czech Republic, according to the head of the Czech Vaccinology Society. In addition, nearly 30 percent have already been vaccinated against Covid. The estimate of Ukrainian children's vaccination status was based on evidence from refugees in the Czech regions.
  • CULTURE The Czech National Theater has come in for criticism over its decision to cancel a performance of the opera Cherevichki by Russian composer Pytor Ilyich Tchaikovsky. The Czech Culture Minister Martin Baxa defended the theater, though, saying the decision was legitimate and does not constitute a boycott of Russian culture. The theater is still staging ballets by Tchaikovsky and works by other Russian authors, but canceled the Cherevichki performance because of a passage speaking of the "great Russian empire".

March 24, 2022

Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala is today attending a marathon session of diplomatic discussions in Brussels. The first part of the day sees a meeting of NATO leaders to discuss the war in Ukraine and the provision of further aid to the Ukrainian people. Poland will table a proposal to send a peacekeeping mission into Ukraine, while the formation of new battlegroups in Eastern Europe will also be discussed. Later on, Fiala will attend a meeting of EU leaders focusing on the refugee crisis and possible additional sanctions on Russia.

  • REFUGEES Those who accommodate refugees for free at home or in their vacant flats will be eligible for a monthly state contribution of CZK 3,000 per person to cover costs, the Czech government announced today. One household can receive up to a maximum of CZK 12,000 a month for accommodating refugees.
  • WORK Czech Health Minister Vlastimil Válek wants to make it easier for healthcare workers from Ukraine to gain work in the Czech Republic. Válek specified that employment for Ukrainian healthcare workers should cover the provision of care to Ukrainian refugees only. European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides meanwhile said that a method for recognizing Ukrainian qualifications at the EU level is being worked on.
  • NATO The lower house of the Czech parliament has approved the deployment of Czech troops in Slovakia amid a strengthening of NATO's eastern flank resulting from the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Parliamentary approval was granted by government MPs as well as opposition lawmakers. Czech soldiers will command a multinational unit also comprising troops from Germany, Poland, Slovenia, the Netherlands, and the U.S., operating in the Lest area of Southern Slovakia.
  • VISAS The Czech Republic has so far granted 222,847 visas to Ukrainian refugees. 5,031 visas were granted yesterday. A total of around 120,000 Ukrainians have so far reported to the immigration police. However, the real number of refugees in Czechia is thought to be much higher; Interior Minister Vít Rakušan said 300,000 refugees are now in the country.
  • EU Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala said the government will assess costs incurred by the state in connection with the Ukrainian refugee crisis and ask the EU to cover them from shared budget programs. Fiala said he expects other EU countries to clearly declare readiness to help countries hit hardest by the migration wave.

March 23, 2022

Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala and President Miloš Zeman today discussed the Czech position for the upcoming NATO summit on March 24 and 25 and reached full agreement on the mandate of the Czech delegation. Zeman also expressed admiration for Fiala's recent trip to Kyiv to meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Zeman's spokesperson said the President cannot attend the summit in person because doctors have forbidden him from flying. The forthcoming meeting in Brussels will focus on the war in Ukraine and aid sent to the country; a proposal by Poland to send a peacekeeping mission into Ukraine will also be discussed.

FEATURED EMPLOYERS

  • DIPLOMACY A small team of employees of the temporarily closed Czech embassy in Kyiv and general consular office in Lviv, which have been operating in the East Slovak city of Košice since March 16, have been visiting the Ukrainian metropolis of Uzhhorod several times a week, according to the Czech Foreign Ministry. A permanent presence in Uzhhorod is planned as a next stage of rebuilding the Czech diplomatic presence in Ukraine, depending on the development of the security situation in the country.
  • EMERGENCY The Czech government wants to extend the current state of emergency for more than thirty days, according to Prime Minister Petr Fiala speaking to Czech Television today. Czech Television separately claimed the state of emergency might be extended by up to 90 days. The lower house of the Czech Parliament must consent to the extension of the emergency state, which was declared for 30 days on March 4.
  • AID Caritas Czech Republic has shipped health products to a psychiatric clinic in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine. The charity organization confirmed the delivery in a press release today, saying the delivered materials mostly comprised drugs. The psychiatric clinic provides care to around 600 regular patients and 5,000 visiting patients. This was the fourth direct shipment of humanitarian aid by Caritas to Ukrainians in need; the charity has so far gathered a total of around CZK 110 million through its collection Caritas for Ukraine.
  • VISAS The Czech Republic has granted almost 218,000 visas to people affected by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, with another 5,100 granted on Tuesday alone. Since Tuesday, refugees have been receiving a new temporary protection visa, replacing the special long-term visas previously issued. Prime Minister Petr Fiala meanwhile said today that around 300,000 Ukrainian refugees are now in Czechia.
  • WAR Former Czech army Chief of Staff Jiří Šedivý has described how the Ukrainian armed forces have the strength to defend their country, but not to reverse the course of the war through a counter-attack. Šedivý said that after failing in its initial attempts to take control of Ukraine rapidly, the Russian military is attempting to regroup, although the arrival of fresh troops, replenishment of ammunition and reconnaissance on key routes will take several days. Šedivý predicted that Russia will try at least one more time to break the will of the Ukrainian military and force a surrender.

March 22, 2022

The assistance center for Ukrainian refugees in Prague will move from its location in the Congress Center to a former bank building near a metro station in the Vysočany district by April 14, Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib has announced. The new location will be loaned to the government by the Central Group developer for free, with the cost of energy during operations also being covered by Central Group. The move is necessary because the Congress Center is contracted for events in the coming weeks, including events relating to the Czech presidency of the European Union. The capacity of the new assistance center will be lower than in the Congress Center; it will be able to serve around 2,700 people per day.

  • COMMUNITY A new station called Radio Ukraine started broadcasting in the Czech Republic today. The station's target audience is refugees who have fled the Russian invasion of Ukraine; it is part of the Media Bohemia group which also runs various regional radio stations. Radio Ukraine's on-air manager is Natalia Churikova, who was formerly a Ukrainian journalist at Radio Free Europe, and who has lived in Czechia for 27 years.
  • EDUCATION The Czech Education Ministry will take into the account schools' number of Ukrainian students when allocating state funding in April. If schools see further increases in numbers of Ukrainian children, they will be able to apply for additional funding. The numbers of teachers and students in Czech schools will be recorded in late March, and the ministry is also preparing subsidies for integration and language-learning courses for Ukrainian kids. Education Ministr Petr Gazdík estimated the cost of integrating 100,000 Ukrainian refugee children into schools at CZK 17 billion.
  • VISAS The Czech Interior Ministry has started issuing temporary protection visas to Ukrainian refugees as of today, replacing the special long-term visas issued until now. No changes will affect the holders of the special visa, which will be automatically transferred to a new temporary protection visa. Over 212,600 refugees affected by the war in Ukraine have so far received special visas in the Czech Republic, with 7,200 receiving visas on Monday alone.
  • WAR Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky appeared in an interview with Czech Television yesterday. Speaking with Czech TV reporter Michal Kubal, Zelensky said that Russian demands made during peace negotiations, including that Ukraine should relinquish its claims to the separatist Donbas regions as well as Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in 2014, are unacceptable. Zelensky also took the opportunity to praise the surprise visit of Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala along with his Polish and Slovenian counterparts to war-torn Kyiv last week.
  • EU Debates on a new raft of sanctions against Russia among EU member states have not yielded agreement. Talks are focusing on restricting Russia's access to the European energy market. While Britain, Canada, the U.S.A. and Australia have banned the purchase of Russian oil, the EU has been left unable to do so by concerns from some Russia-dependent member states such as Germany and the Netherlands.

March 21, 2022

The Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs has expressed skepticism about a proposal by Poland to send a peacekeeping mission into Ukraine. Spokeswoman Lenka Do said the specifics of any possible NATO deployment in Ukraine need to be resolved, and that a peacekeeping mission cannot be launched in the context of the current intense fighting in Ukraine. Objections to the Polish proposal were raised by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Wednesday. The Czech Foreign Ministry said its priority remains the de-escalation of the conflict through diplomatic means.

  • REFUGEES Minister for Labor and Social Affairs Marian Jurečka expects the government to decide on Wednesday on a solidarity contribution for people who choose to accommodate Ukrainian refugees in their home or in vacant flats. Jurečka said the proposed maximum of CZK 9,000 per household per month could be increased, suggesting a ceiling of CZK 12,000 a month is possible.
  • FINANCES Problems have arisen with the financial market guarantee system for returning money to Sberbank clients after the Russian bank's license was revoked by the Czech National Bank. The guarantee system cannot start paying out compensation to institutional clients of Sberbank CZ because Sberbank failed to supply the necessary documents, according to guarantee system authorities. Institutional clients are nonetheless assured that their entitlement to compensation will not change.
  • HEALTHCARE Czech Deputy Health Minister Jakub Dvoráček has called on Czechs to understand that providing urgent medical care for Ukrainian refugees, especially children, is currently the top priority for the nation's health services. Outpatient wards are being set up in Czech hospitals so that Czech patients do not have to suffer disruption in standard doctor's offices. Dvoráček also said it is difficult to plan capacities at the moment because the situation surrounding refugees is unpredictable and will keep changing in the weeks and months ahead.
  • EU European Union foreign and defense ministers are today discussing strengthening common defense capabilities and the transformation of EU defense strategy as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The discussions encompass increased military budgets and expanded joint purchases of weapons and equipment, as well as the possibility of setting up a rapid reaction force to protect the EU.
  • PROTESTS Copious amounts of red paint were splashed on the entrance to the Russian embassy in Prague at the weekend and the paint was still in place yesterday. The perpetrator claimed to have tripped while carrying a bucket of red paint by the embassy.
Red paint splashed on the Russian embassy this weekend / photo via Raymond Johnston
Red paint splashed on the Russian embassy this weekend / photo via Raymond Johnston

March 20, 2022

A new sports program to help Ukrainian children better integrate into schools and kindergartens has been launched in Prague 1 by the Prague Children's Foundation. Through sports interaction with Czech peers, the new program aims to help overcome language barriers in helping young Ukrainian children get to know new friends.

The first event geared towards helping Ukrainian children took place at Beach Praha Arena in Strahov. "We have the experience that games and sports are best utilized for interaction and mutual understanding," says Dana Maršálková, director of the Prague Children's Foundation. "That is why the children's foundation has prepared a special sand-based lesson at Strahov Beach Club, with instructors skilled in multiple languages.”

  • VISAS The Czech Republic has now granted over 200,000 special visas to Ukrainian refugees fleeing their homeland following the Russian invasion, the Interior Ministry has announced. A total of 200,852 special visas have now been granted, with 5,427 issued yesterday.
  • SANCTIONS A number of European countries continued to export weapons to Russia after a 2014 embargo following the invasion of Crimea, and the Czech Republic was among those countries, according to a new report. The full report from the investigative team Investigate Europe can be found here.
  • CHARITY An online auction of contemporary art organised by Bold Gallery, Trafo Gallery, The Chemistry Gallery and the Contemporary Art Center DOX in Prague has raised about 7.5 million crowns. Forty works of art were auctioned in total, with all proceeds going towards those affected in Ukraine. More info about the auction here.

March 19, 2022

The Czech Republic supports Poland's proposal for a NATO debate on sending a peacekeeping mission to Ukraine following the Russian invasion, Czech Defence Minister Jana Černochová said after talks with her Slovak counterpart Jaroslav Naď. However, Černochová told journalists that it was not clear whether such a step would be in harmony with international law.

Naď said he wants to wait for the proposal to be released. "At the moment, I cannot imagine how it should look like," he added. Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala told journalists that he would discuss support for the sending of a peacekeeping mission to Ukraine with President Miloš Zeman and members of his government.

  • REFUGEES The assistance center for Ukrainian refugees in Prague Congress Centre will be moved elsewhere in the weeks to come, Prague Deputy Mayor Petr Hlubuček told journalists. Next week, City Hall will discuss the exact date and place of the relocation; UN Square in Vysočany has been proposed as an alternative.
  • AID The Czech Republic would like to use one billion euros from the EU's special recovery fund to finance the construction of accommodation facilities and other costs linked to the acceptance of Ukrainian refugees, according to Deputy PM and Regional Development Minister Ivan Bartoš.
  • ASSISTANCE Ukrainian refugees in the Czech Republic will be able to request humanitarian aid through an online application, according to Czech Labor and Social Affairs Ministry spokeswoman Eva Davidová. The Ministry will begin pilot operation of the application on Monday, through which refugees can request 5,000 crowns to cover basic needs upon their arrival.
  • CRIME Czech police have charged two people with crimes related to the approval of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. One of them threatened to set a school with Ukrainian refugees on fire; the other painted a symbol of Russian aggression on a house where refugees were living. A total of about 400 such incidents are being investigated by Czech police.

March 18, 2022

Czechia supports having a debate on whether to send a peacekeeping force into Ukraine, according to Czech Defense Minister Jana Černochová speaking after a meeting with her Slovak counterpart Jaroslav Naď today. Both ministers, however, expressed uncertainty about how such a mission would be implemented; Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said he would submit a proposal to NATO for the mission at a summit next week. Černochová told journalists it was not yet clear how the mission would work, while Naď said that he "cannot imagine how it should look." Czech PM Petr Fiala said he will talk about support for a peacekeeping mission with President Miloš Zeman.

  • WAR Russian missiles today struck an aircraft maintenance plant close to the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, in another sign that Russian aggression is extending further west as its advances in the east, south and north of Ukraine stall.
  • NATO Slovak Defense Minister Jaroslav Naď has praised the coming deployment of Czech troops in Slovakia to protect NATO's eastern wing. Czech troops will command a NATO battlegroup of around 2,100 soldiers from the Czech Republic, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovenia and the U.S.
  • REFUGEES Nearly 188,000 special visas have been granted to Ukrainian refugees in Czechia, with 7,831 issued on Thursday alone. The highest number of visas have been issued in Prague (45,191), followed by the Central Bohemia region (26,869) and South Moravia (17,889).
  • HEALTHCARE Refugees coming from Ukraine to the Czech Republic will be able to access dental care in a language they understand, as one in nine dentists working in Czechia is from Ukraine or Russia, according to Czech Dental Chamber President Roman Šmucler speaking earlier today. The Dental Chamber is also reporting an increase in new Ukrainian applicants for membership, which is mandatory for all dentists working in Czechia. Šmucler said dentists who graduated from a foreign university must have their diploma acknowledged by the Education Ministry and then undergo a Czech-language test in medicine.
  • SOLIDARITY Prague City Hall today hoisted the flag of Kyiv on the New Town Hall building on Mariánské náměstí. The flag expresses Prague's support for the besieged Ukrainian city, which is under heavy shelling and hemmed in by Russian troops. The flag will stay on the building indefinitely.

March 17, 2022

The world reacted to Czech PM Petr Fiala’s visit, along with the prime ministers of Poland and Slovenia, to war-torn Kyiv Tuesday, some supporting, some criticizing the visit. Today key laws were signed by the Czech president in aid of refugees from Ukraine while PM Fiala stressed that difficult times lie ahead in regard to the country’s continued ability to absorb more refugees.

  • VISAS The Czech Interior Ministry has granted Ukrainian refugees 180,000 visas in Czechia according to the data the ministry released on Twitter today. Almost 100,000 refugees have registered with the immigration police. Most, over 43,000, are in Prague.
  • POLICY President Miloš Zeman today signed into law today three bills that will make the stay of Ukrainian refugees in the Czech Republic easier, signing the laws the same day the Senate approved them in expedited proceedings. The laws should take effect already this week. The first law makes it easier for refugees fleeing from the war in Ukraine to get a residence permit, the second law makes it easier for them to access the labor market and allows for their entry into the public health insurance system. The third law allows Czech schools to increase the capacities of their classes due to refugees. Refugees will get a financial contribution of CZK 5,000.
  • SHELTER On Wednesday, the cabinet approved a contribution of CZK 200 per person per night regardless of whether they are adults or children. Those offering private accommodation may receive a solidarity subsidy of CZK 3,000 per person per month.
  • CAPACITY Based on previous migration waves, the Czech Republic has nearly reached its capacity for the number of refugees it can absorb. Speaking at a press briefing following an emergency meeting of the government today, Prime Minister Petr Fiala said that there are currently 270,000 refugees in Czechia who have fled "hostilities" at home.
  • SECURITY The Senate approved today the deployment of up to 650 Czech soldiers within the NATO troops in Slovakia in connection with the Russian invasion of Ukraine in an effort to reinforce defense of the eastern NATO flank against the Russian aggression in Ukraine. Czech soldiers are set to command troops from Germany, Poland, Slovenia, the Netherlands, and the U.S. from the Lest military area, southern Slovakia. The Senate defense committee head called on the government to reinforce the Czech military presence in the Baltics and Poland.

March 16, 2022

Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala said that a peaceful diplomatic solution in Ukraine is possible if Europe continues to back Ukraine, after meeting President Volodymyr Zelensky along with his counterparts from Poland and Slovenia in Kyiv yesterday. Fiala also told reporters that Ukraine needs more anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons from the West. Slovak Prime Minister Eduard Heger was meanwhile forced to apologize for not attending the trip, claiming he turned down the opportunity to visit Kyiv based on the information available to him and saying "I am sorry if I disappointed some people in Slovakia."

Refugees Russians help with assisting Ukrainian refugees in Prague

  • AID Members of Prague's Russian community are proactively assisting efforts to help Ukrainians fleeing to the Czech Republic. Representatives of the Russian community told media today about their activities, driven by the fact that many have Ukrainian friends or relatives, and others feel a need to make amends for the actions of the Kremlin. Russians are involved with delivering humanitarian aid to the border regions while ferrying Ukrainian refugees back to the Czech Republic. Others run an accommodation network for Ukrainians named the House of Good.
  • VISAS Over 170,000 Ukrainian refugees have received special visas issued by the Czech Republic, with almost 10,000 issued yesterday. Over 94,500 refugees have reported to the immigration police centers, with another 4,300 registering with the authorities yesterday. Children under 15 do not have to be reported to the immigration authorities. Data from mobile operators suggests around 270,000 refugees from Ukraine are now in the Czech Republic.
  • HEALTH Minister of Health Vlastimil Válek has confirmed that the influx of Ukrainian refugees is having no effect on the current slight resurgence in Covid cases. Some outbreaks have been reported among refugees, but the government can distinguish between cases in the domestic population and foreigners, and statistics show that the arrival of Ukrainians is not responsible for the uptick in cases.
  • WORK The Czech Senate's Social Committee has today recommended the approval of measures facilitating the easier entry of Ukrainian refugees into the Czech labor market, as well as the provision of a personal humanitarian benefit of CZK 5,000 each. The Senate will vote on making refugees' employment rights the same as foreigners with permanent residence on Thursday. The bill would also allow Ukrainian children to attend children's groups, with the state to contribute to their attendance.

Security Slovakia approves Czech troop deployment

  • ARMY Soldiers from six NATO countries including the Czech Republic will bolster the alliance’s eastern flank in Slovakia, according to a proposal approved by the Slovak parliament. The proposal will allow up to 2,100 foreign troops to be deployed in Slovakia, including up to 600 members of the Czech armed forces.
  • NATO Defense Ministers of NATO member states are discussing a long-term plan to strengthen the Alliance's eastern flank in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin pointed out the increased American troop presence in Europe as a sign of NATO's increased commitment, with U.S. troops stationed in Europe now numbering 100,000. The new plan for strengthening Eastern Europe could include new permanent divisions, increased numbers of aircraft and ships in the Black Sea, and new anti-aircraft systems. The plan should be approved at a NATO summit in June.

March 15, 2022

Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala is in Ukraine to meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, together with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and Slovenian leader Janez Jansa. Fiala said the visit aims to express "unequivocal support" for Ukraine from the European Council. The trip was kept secret for security reasons and news of Fiala's presence in Ukraine only broke this morning. Analysts have described the trip as an important gesture underlining the importance of Central and Eastern European EU members in the bloc's response to the war, which is usually led by larger states such as France and Germany.

Refugees Over 161,000 special visas issued, 11,000 on Monday alone

  • VISAS The Czech Republic has issued over 161,000 visas to Ukrainian refugees, while around 90,000 refugees have so far registered with immigration police and assistance centers. Yesterday, around 11,000 visas were issued and 5,000 Ukrainians registered with the authorities. Special visas for refugees have now been granted to 56.5 percent of the adult Ukrainian refugee population.
  • SHELTER The Ministry of Defense is seeking capacity to house up to 1,000 Ukrainian refugees, with a location in Karlovy Vary or Moravská Třebova the most likely candidates. The accommodation facilities would provide refugees with food and medical care.
  • WELCOME Czech culture facilities are drawing up a plan to allow Ukrainian refugees to visit various exhibitions across the country free of charge. The Czech Museum and Gallery Association plans to publish a full list of activities to help Ukrainian refugees on its website soon, including opportunities for free entries.

Security Huge increase in applications to join Czech reserve forces

  • SERVICE Interest in joining the active reserve forces of the Czech army and participating in voluntary military exercises has increased tenfold in the last month. Almost 1,400 people have applied to join the reserves since mid-February, while over 500 want to take part in voluntary exercises. Every Czech citizens who is 18 or older, has graduated from high school and has some kind of further education qualification can enter the reserves after undergoing a medical examination.
  • NATO Fears of a full-blown war between Russia and NATO have grown with Slovak reports that Russia is expected to bomb a Ukrainian airport in Uzhhorod, which is less than two kilometers from the Slovakia. If Russia attacks a NATO member state, it will automatically be at war with the entire alliance.

March 14, 2022

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke over the phone with Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson through the weekend with PM Fiala assuring the Ukrainian President that shipments of humanitarian and military aid from the Czech Republic to Ukraine will continue. The PM has refuted speculation that the country would call for moving refugees to other EU states. Multiple govt. offices reported a surge of refugee activity while Czech officials will convene to discuss the next steps in accommodating Ukrainian refugees Monday evening, looking to the EU for support.

Refugees Hundreds of thousands of visas issued, Czechia considering tent cities

  • VISAS The Czech Republic has granted over 150,000 special visas to refugees fleeing from Ukraine faced with Russian attack, 7,513 of them on Sunday alone, and Czech immigration police and assistance centers have registered almost 85,000 refugees, including 3,491 on Sunday, the Interior Ministry tweeted Monday.
  • SHELTER Over 200,000 Ukrainians have fled from war-stricken Ukraine so far. Czechia has already asked the EU for a supply of modular humanitarian bases that can accommodate up to 50,000 refugees. In addition, the Defence Ministry is considering putting up tent camps for the refugees. Through the weekend emergency accommodation was provided by gyms or cultural centers at the request of the municipality the gym of the Campanus primary school in Chodov.
  • INSURANCE VZP health insurance company said that as of Monday, 152,692 refugees from Ukraine have registered for public health insurance in Czechia. Out of these people, 68,125 are children, while women make up 80 percent of the adult insured. The highest number of people, some 39,000, turned to the insurance company in Prague. Besides refugee assistance centers, newcomers can apply for insurance at one of the 196 VZP offices.
  • EMPLOYMENT Tens of thousands of Ukrainian refugees have visited Czech employment offices in recent days. Most are requesting humanitarian aid and benefits, but some are also interested in work opportunities, according to a spokesperson for employment offices. Staff from other departments have been redirected to employment offices to help meet the demand, and offices are also extending their opening hours.

AID Medicine, money, munitions flowing into Ukraine from Czechia

  • MEDICINE The first two aid vehicles carrying prescription-strength medicines such as painkillers and antibiotics will leave Czechia for Ukraine this week, after a half-million packages worth over CZK 10 million crowns were donated to it by pharmaceutical companies. Further shipments of medicine are being planned. Czechia's first two trucks will carry about 130 pallets of medicines. Over-the-counter medications are being supplied to Ukraine by humanitarian and volunteers organizations.
  • MILITARY AID The Czech Republic will provide Ukraine with additional military aid, Defence Minister Jana Černochová told Czech Television today. To date, the Czech Republic has sent weaponry, ammunition, and other military aid worth CZK 725 million to Ukraine, and additional deliveries will be for a similar amount.

ČTK contributed to this report.

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