Ukrainian President Zelenskyy headed to Prague for talks with top officials

Zelenskyy will meet with Czech President Petr Pavel on Thursday at Prague Castle. He will also meet Prime Minister Petr Fiala during his visit.


Written by ČTK Published on 06.07.2023 19:54:00 (updated on 08.07.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

Prague, July 6 (CTK) - Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy will arrive in the Czech Republic to hold talks with Czech President Petr Pavel and Prime Minister Petr Fiala, according to Presidential Office spokeswoman Markéta Řeháková.

During his visit, Zelenskyy will also meet Senate Speaker Miloš Vystrčil and Chamber of Deputies Speaker Marketa Pekarova Adamova. He is scheduled to meet with members of the government and parliament as well, as mentioned on his Twitter account.

Govt. spokesperson Václav Smolka tweeted earlier this evening that Zelenskyy's flight is due to land in Prague from Sofia on tonight. He will meet with his Czech counterpart, Pavel, and on Friday he will meet with other constitutional officials. 

The grounds of Prague Castle, including the gardens and visitor facilities, were closed to the public from around 3 p.m. today due to the visit. The castle will reopen on Friday.

This visit marks Zelenskyy's first trip to the Czech Republic since the start of the Russian invasion. The talks will cover various topics, including defense, the upcoming NATO summit in Vilnius, Ukraine's European and Euro-Atlantic integration, the situation at the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant, and the reconstruction efforts in Ukraine.

"The [purpose] of the Ukrainian president's visit of is to express appreciation for the support the Czech Republic has provided to Ukraine since the beginning of the Russian aggression and to bring mutual assurances that this support will continue," Řeháková said.

Řeháková added that the presidents are expected to align their positions ahead of the NATO summit, where security guarantees for Ukraine will be discussed.

Zelenskyy has visited several Western capitals, including London, Paris, Berlin, and Washington, since the start of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Today, he was in Bulgaria, where he announced an agreement on enhanced defense cooperation between the two countries.

Last year, Zelenskyy delivered an online speech to Czech MPs and senators from Kyiv, and he has addressed numerous other parliaments, including those of the European Union, United Kingdom, Germany, Israel, Slovakia, and the United States.

Fiala was the first of Europe's top politicians to arrive in war-torn Kyiv last March, along with Polish and Slovenian Prime Ministers Mateusz Morawiecki and Janez Jansa and Polish Deputy Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski.

For the second time, Fiala held talks with Zelenskyy in Kyiv on Oct. 31 last year as part of a joint meeting of the Czech and Ukrainian governments, accompanied by a number of ministers. Vystrčil also visited Ukraine.

Pavel arrived in Ukraine at the end of April together with his Slovak colleague Zuzana Čaputová. At that time, Zelenskyy told the heads of state that his country was ready to meet all the conditions for joining the European Union. He stressed that Ukraine does not want to join the EU for free and that he himself intends to push for the start of the relevant accession talks before the end of this year.

Pavel also visited the town of Bucha, which has become one of the symbols of war crimes. He also visited the eastern Ukrainian city of Dnipro and saw, among other places, facilities for refugees from other Ukrainian regions. According to Řeháková, Pavel was the first foreign president to travel to eastern Ukraine after the Russian invasion.

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