PM Fiala: Czechia has nearly exhausted its arms supplies to support Ukraine

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

Written by Staff Published on 20.06.2022 11:44:00 (updated on 26.06.2022) Reading time: 7 minutes

June 26, 2022

War Czech volunteers suspected of looting war zones in Ukraine

  • The Czech Republic's National Organised Crime Agency suspects two Czech volunteers of looting war zones in Ukraine outside of Kyiv, reports

  • Both suspects, who had been fighting alongside Ukraine's military, were released without charges by Ukrainian police and are now back in the Czech Republic.

  • They are currently under investigation by Czech police. If convicted, they could face an exceptional sentence of up to 30 years in prison. They are also suspected of fighting in Ukraine without permission from the Czech president.

  • "We have never dealt with such a case. We are naturally working on it intensively," Organised Crime Agency chief Jiří Mazánek told CNN Prima News.

  • According to Seznam Zpravy, a lawyer for the Ukrainian battalion the Czechs were fighting with said they were found with jewelry and other items including about half a kilogram of gold and silver.

June 24, 2022

Military Fiala says weapons almost exhausted

  • Czechia has practically exhausted its supplies of weapons with which it could help Ukraine defend itself against the Russian invasion, Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala told a press conference in Brussels. He added that more weapons will need to be acquired.

  • Fiala told journalists that Ukraine will be a priority of the forthcoming Czech EU presidency. Czechia is going to further support the Ukrainian army with weapons, but it also offers technical support and training.

  • Fiala met with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels to discuss further military aid to Ukraine, defense policy, and NATO enlargement.

Policy Senate approves 'lex Ukraine'

  • The Senate approved an amendment to the "lex Ukraine" that is supposed to make it possible for the Ukrainian refugees to receive accommodation and registration even after the state of emergency expires on June 30.

  • The amendment still has to be signed by the president. Refugees will be able to apply for an allowance equal to the subsistence level six months after they received the emergency protection visas in the Czech Republic. It amounts to CZK 4,250 per adult and CZK 3,050 per child.

refugees Creation of Ukrainian classes in Czech schools prolonged

  • Schools may create special classes for Ukrainian children next school year if there are not enough places in the regular classes. However, they will have to teach according to Czech curricula.

  • The teachers who do not fulfill the condition of knowing Czech will be able to keep teaching children in Ukrainian classes.

  • The amendment is also supposed to make the building of temporary shelters for accommodating and educating refugees easier and faster in the future.

  • The Czech Republic issued temporary protection visas to 699 refugees from the war-stricken Ukraine on Thursday, 118 more than a week ago, and the total number of visas granted to the refugees since the Russian invasion start on Feb. 24, is 381,664, the Interior Ministry tweeted.

Culture Ukrainian play staged in Prague

  • The Czech premiere of the Ukrainian play “Bad Roads” was staged by Kyiv’s Left Bank Theater at Divadlo Komedie. The troupe is currently touring Europe and will next go to Munich and Berlin.

  • The six-episode play by Natalya Vorozhbit is a reaction to the occupation of territory in Eastern Ukraine by the Russian troops in 2014. It was performed in Ukrainian with Czech subtitles in Prague. It had its world premiere in London in 2017.

June 23, 2022

support Benefit concert in Prague supports Ukraine

  • A benefit concert called Ukrainian Freedom Voices to support the war-stricken Ukraine, with six leading protagonists of the current Ukrainian music scene, was held at Výstaviště in Holešovice last night. 
  • The proceeds will be given to charity. The concert takes place a day before the beginning of Prague's Metronome Festival.  

POLICY New sanctions law to target Russia and Belarus

  • Foreign Minister expects that with the enactment of the new law Czechia will focus its attention on individuals and entities from Russia and Belarus that take part in the war in Ukraine and are not on the EU sanction lists for some reason.

  • Based on the law, targeted internal restrictive measures may be adopted in accordance with the decisions of the Czech Republic that arise from national security interests and that seek to maintain or renew international peace and security, protection of fundamental human rights, and fight against terrorism.

SANCTIONS Visas not to be issued to Russians, Belarusians until March 2023

  • The regulation on suspending the issuance of Czech visas and residence permits to Russians and Belarusians will be in force until the end of March 2023, the cabinet agreed today, approving a proposal submitted by the Foreign Ministry.

  • The applications for residence permits in the Czech Republic that Russians and Belarusians will file with a diplomatic mission will be considered unacceptable under the legal regulation, so no proceedings on them will be launched, the Foreign Ministry said in its report.

REFUGEES Czechia gives emergency visas to 753 Ukrainians on Wednesday

  • The Czech Republic issued temporary protection visas to 753 refugees from the war-stricken Ukraine on Wednesday, 343 fewer than a week ago.

  • The total number of visas granted to the refugees since the Russian invasion started on Feb. 24 is 380,965.

June 22, 2022

Expenditure on the refugee crisis at the end of May amounted to CZK 7.2 billion

The state, municipalities, and regions spent CZK 7.2 billion on managing the refugee crisis in connection with the war in Ukraine as of the end of May. The state paid CZK 6.1 billion of the sum and CZK 4 billion went to welfare benefits, the Finance Ministry told ČTK.

However, the costs do not yet include the spending of municipalities and regions in connection with refugees in May, dozens of millions of crowns in total, the ministry added.

The office also pointed out that roughly 70,000 refugees from Ukraine were employed in the Czech Republic, according to the data from early June. Consequently, the state gains taxes as well as social and health insurance payments for these employees.

At the beginning of April, the Minister of Finance, Zbyněk Stanjura estimated that the full-year costs of managing migration from Ukraine would be approximately two billion euros, ie approximately CZK 50 billion.

REFUGEES Czechia issued over 380,000 visas to Ukrainian refugees

  • The Ministry of the Interior registers 380,212 temporary protection visas issued by the Czech Republic to refugees from Ukraine during the roughly four months of the Russian invasion.

  • Temporary protection visas allow their owners to stay in the country for up to a year. At the same time, they open up access to public health insurance, education, or the labor market.

June 21, 2022

refugees Nearly 77,000 Ukrainian refugees have jobs in Czechia

  • Almost 77,000 Ukrainians who fled from the Russian invasion to Czechia have already found a job, which proves that the refugees do not come to the country to abuse the welfare system but that they want to live here, said Czech Interior Minister Vít Rakušan.

  • Czech authorities estimate that from 280,000 to 300,000 Ukrainian refugees, mostly women with children, are staying in the country now.

  • The precise number of refugees cannot be set because some move to other foreign countries from Czechia or return to their homeland. Since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February, more than 378,000 Ukrainians received temporary protection visas in Czechia.

aid Govt. paid out CZK 100 million to NGOs and South Moravia region

  • The Ministry of Interior paid out CZK 100 million to NGOs and South Moravia region in subsidies and CZK 40 million to municipalities.

  • "However, we should not ease up on our effort to provide every refugee from Ukraine with proper and dignified admission and let them gain an adequate place to live in Czechia," said a government human rights commissioner.

policy Czech EU presidency to promote further support for Ukraine

  • Czechia is going to emphasize further support for Ukraine during its presidency of the Council of the European Union, Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský told journalists today after talks with foreign ministers from other EU countries.

  • EU states are therefore going to provide further weapons to Ukraine needed to fend off the Russian attack in the eastern and southern part of its territory and to contribute to the financing of the urgent needs of the Ukrainian state.

  • Apart from this, Czechia and some other states want further EU money to be earmarked for the care of Ukrainian refugees.

June 20, 2022

Each year on June 20, the world celebrates World Refugee Day. This year, the focus will be on the right to seek safety. The holiday celebrates the strength and courage of people who have been forced to flee their home country to escape conflict or persecution. The City of Prague is launching a campaign called the "Stories of Gratitude" dedicated to helping refugees. Meanwhile, the number of visas issued to Ukrainians in the Czech Republic is vastly decreasing.

refugees Number of visas granted to Ukrainians falling rapidly

  • The Czech Republic issued 171 temporary protection visas to people affected by the Russian invasion of Ukraine on Sunday, about 320 less than a week ago.

  • Since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in late February, visas have been granted to almost 378,000 refugees.

policy PM and Prague's mayor agree on redistribution of refugees

  • At their Friday meeting, Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib and Prime Minister Petr Fiala agreed on drafting a set of measures motivating the refugees to move to less burdened municipalities. There will be a coordination mechanism under which the relocation will take place.

  • The agreement comes after City Hall's decision that the capital was overburdened and does not have vacant accommodation capacities for refugees anymore. Some regional governors have criticized the Prague decision.

AID Part of the opposition agrees with Russian Ukraine propaganda

  • Some Czech politicians are increasingly distancing themselves from the government's strategy to help Ukraine, reports ČT24.

  • The loudest are SPD deputies, who say that arms supplies to a country invaded by Russia should end. According to them, arms supplies are prolonging the war.

  • Former Prime Minister and YES chairman Andrej Babiš also came forward with the claim that arms supplies should end. International relations experts point out that such arguments are in line with the official views of the Kremlin.

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