Ukraine update: News is spreading about Prague shops denying Ukrainians entry. It’s fake.

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 23.05.2022 10:34:00 (updated on 29.05.2022) Reading time: 8 minutes

May 29, 2022

Military Aid Czech Republic sends 3.5 billion crowns of aid to Ukraine

The Czech Republic has provided Ukraine with vehicles, weapons, and other military aid worth over 3.5 billion crowns, Defence Minister Jana Černochová told Czech Television today. Černochová said she will propose additional deliveries valued at 600-700 million crowns. She also confirmed that the Czech Republic is sending heavy military equipment to Ukraine.

"What matters is that the help should be continual," Černochová said. She added that the Defence Ministry was working with the Ukrainian embassy in Prague to purchase weapons and military equipment from money donated directly to the Embassy. So far, it has received in this way about 1.2 billion crowns through donations.

Černochová declined to confirm or deny the news that the Czech Republic had shipped combat helicopters to Ukraine, as was stated by U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin on Monday.

May 27, 2022

fake news Disinformation about Prague shops banning Ukrainians spreads online

FEATURED EMPLOYERS

A clothing store near Karlínské náměstí found itself in the middle of a disinformation scandal. On Thursday, a local news server published photos of two Prague shops on social media, which appeared to have "Ukrainians not allowed to enter" signs in their windows. However, the owners of both stores said that the photo, widely shared on social media, is photomontage and that they did not hang the signs, reported Aktuálně.cz

Photos from an unknown source were distributed on Prague Morning social media website. Photo: Prague Morning (Twitter)
Photos from an unknown source were distributed on Prague Morning social media website. Photo: Prague Morning (Twitter)

The owner of the store said he has experienced the war himself and would never post anything like this. "I have a lot of friends from Ukraine and Russia. I'm not interested in politics at all. It's a photomontage, one hundred percent. I'm from Palestine, so I know what war means. I lost a lot of friends and family. I can't be against Ukraine, [where] there's a disaster," he said. The store owners are now considering legal advice from lawyers; they assume their competition could be behind it.

diplomacy Czech ambassador to Ukraine back in Kyiv

  • Czech ambassador to Ukraine Radek Matula and another diplomat from the political and economic department returned to the Czech embassy in Kyiv on Wednesday.


  • There are now five diplomats at the embassy, the first one returned to Kyiv in mid-April.

refugees Between 75 and 80 percent of originally registered refugees stay in Czechia

  • The Czech Republic has so far granted 356,666 temporary protection visas to Ukrainian refugees fleeing from the war.


  • Between 75 and 80 percent of the originally registered refugees still stay in the Czech Republic, Interior Minister Vít Rakušan.


  • The highest number of Ukrainian refugees stay in Prague, 82,769 of them reported to the police there. 


May 26, 2022

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will address both houses of the Czech parliament via a video conference on June 15, their heads Miloš Vystrčil and Markéta Pekarová Adamová told journalists today.

The Chamber of Deputies may also nominate Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for the top Czech state decoration called the Order of the White Lion. He is now on the preliminary list of the candidates, and President Miloš Zeman said in early March he had decided to comply with the proposal.

May 25, 2022

Refugees Guardian: Situation at Prague train station is "festering crisis"

British newspaper The Guardian describes the refugee situation at Prague's central train station as a "festering crisis" in an article today. The coverage describes poor conditions in which hundreds of people are sleeping at the station and discusses the attitude of Czech authorities.

Prague’s central railway station seems a picture of normality amid warm spring sunshine and the return of legions of tourists, who had been largely absent at the height of Covid... Yet just yards away, hundreds of Roma people are sheltering in the only place available to them since they joined the millions of Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion. Unlike other Ukrainians who have been offered refugee visas, these families have found they have nowhere to go and no one who wants them," the daily writes.

Czech authorities say that many refugees have dual citizenship and hold Hungarian passports which make them EU nationals. Under the rules, EU citizens are not entitled to temporary protection in the Czech Republic. Speaking to The Guardian, OPU crisis coordinator Geti Mubeen said only a fifth of refugees at the train station have Hungarian citizenship. Anti-Roma prejudice is an obstacle, he added.


Prague's mayor Zdeněk Hřib and minister of interior Vít Rakušan finally found a consensus on the refugee crisis at the Prague Main Station. Another tent camp will open in Prague's Malešice although Hřib still insists on the redistribution of refugees across regions, noting the limited capacity of schools in busy areas. Meanwhile, the artillery sent to Ukraine by the Czech Republic has been spotted fighting in southern Ukraine.

refugees Another tent camp for refugees to be set up in Prague

  • At the end of May, another tent town for refugees from Ukraine with the capacity of 150 beds will be established in Malešice, Prague, as of May 31.


  • At the same time, the voluntary aid to Ukrainian refugees at the Main Railway Station will end. An information point for refugees would be created at the main station.


  • Vit Rakušan wrote on Twitter that the people staying at the Prague Main Station are women with children, and they are not a threat to the Czech society.


  • Almost 366,000 refugees from Ukraine have been registered for health insurance in Czechia and the state pays the costs for the absolute majority of them as they have the required visas, health insurance companies have told ČTK.


  • The Czech Republic has so far granted 354,631 temporary protection visas to Ukrainian refugees fleeing from the war since its start on February 24, including 1,219 on Tuesday, some 350 fewer than a week ago, the Interior Ministry tweeted today.

aid Czech tanks for Ukraine fight near Mykolaiv

  • At present, Czech tanks are part of Ukrainian mechanized units operating on the southern front between Kherson and Mykolaiv, reports iDnes.cz.


  • A few weeks ago, the Czech Republic began sending small arms and ammunition to the east, and later artillery, tanks, and rocket launchers.


May 24, 2022

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin thanked the Czech Republic for its donation of helicopters, tanks, and rocket systems to Ukraine, after a virtual meeting with representatives of allied countries. Information on the delivery of helicopters had not been previously reported. The Czech military uses Russian Mi-24/35 combat helicopters, among others. Media previously listed delivery of Dana self-propelled artillery guns, RM-70 Grad multiple rocket launchers, Soviet-made T-72 tanks, and infantry fighting vehicles. The Czech Defense Ministry declined to confirm the list and does not want to release the precise value of the military material delivered to Ukraine.

Refugees Czechia grants 2,097 temporary protection visas on Monday

  • The Czech Republic issued 2,097 temporary protection visas to Ukrainian refugees on Monday, 109 more than a week ago. Since the start of the war it has granted protection to 353,412 refugees from Ukraine, the Interior Ministry tweeted.


  • Since Feb. 24 when Russia invaded Ukraine, 257,366 people registered at the Czech immigration police, including 2,671 on Monday.


schools Number of Ukrainian refugees at Czech schools grows to 29,800

  • Some 26,000 Ukrainian child refugees attended elementary schools and 3,800 went to kindergartens in the Czech Republic in mid-May, which is a 12 percent increase since early April, the Czech School Inspectorate said.


  • Half of elementary schools and one in five kindergartens struggle with ensuring sufficient capacity and teaching staff, Education Minister Petr Gazdík said.


  • In total, 19,301 children aged 3 to 5 and 68,983 children aged six to 15 have registered with the immigration police as of May 15, the inspectorate said.


  • The data comes from 626 elementary schools and 52 kindergartens. This corresponds to 70 percent of all elementary schools that enrolled at least 10 Ukrainian refugees in mid-May, the inspectorate says.

SHELTER Czechia will buy accommodation containers for refugees

  • The government has ordered accommodation containers like the ones used on construction sites in case capacity and other accommodation options run out for refugees from Ukraine.


  • The administration has set aside up to CZK 200 million for the purchase and plans to purchase a total of 17 sets that would accommodate over 2,500 people. After they are no longer needed, the containers could be sent to Ukraine to serve as housing there.

May 23, 2022

Refugees Thousand Ukrainian refugees hospitalized in Prague

  • About one thousand people who came from Ukraine after the Russian invasion were hospitalized in Prague, further thousands of refugees were treated in outpatient rooms of the hospitals, and tens of Ukrainian women gave birth in Prague.


  • Refugees mostly came because their chronic illness worsened or because they needed a new supply of drugs they used. They also arrived with acute respiratory infections or pain in their musculoskeletal system. 


crisis Fewer refugees stay at Prague Main Train Station

  • The number of refugees who are staying at the Main Train Station is lowering and the situation is getting better, Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib told CNN Prima News.


  • Hřib believes the situation will be solved by the end of May.


  • On Saturday, a group of about 80 people from the station left for Hungary. On Saturday, there were about 260 people at the station, while before some 500 people stayed there, Hřib said.


RALLY Thousands of Ukrainians in traditional clothing marched through Prague

  • More than a thousand Ukrainians passed through the center of the Czech capital on Sunday. Most of them were women with children.


  • Many of them were dressed in national costumes and blue-yellow colors, in which they thanked the Czechs for solidarity and help.


  • During the procession in traditional national costumes, Ukrainians thanked Czechs for their support and hospitality. They chanted 'Thank you, Czechia' and sang the Czech anthem together with the Ukrainian one.


  • The Ukrainian ambassador to the Czech Republic, Jevhen Perebyjnis, also gave a short speech on Wenceslas Square.


SUPPORT Most Czechs continue to show solidarity with refugees

  • According to sociologist Jan Burianec, the interest in helping refugees does not leave Czechs.


  • At the same time, he notes a certain division within the Czech society. A new survey shows that almost half (49 percent) of Czechs would like Ukrainians to return to their homeland after the end of the war.


  • Roughly 20 percent of people said that refugees should stay here as long as they wanted. Eight percent don't know.


  • Currently, less than a quarter of respondents (23 percent) want Ukrainians to return to their country.


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