Putin: Talk of Russia invading Czechia is 'nonsense'

Along with his pledges to not invade any other NATO countries, the Russian president criticized the military alliance's expansion.

Expats.cz Staff ČTK

Written by Expats.cz StaffČTK Published on 28.03.2024 10:59:00 (updated on 28.03.2024) Reading time: 2 minutes

Russian President Vladimir Putin Wednesday dismissed recent warnings from NATO about a potential attack on Czechia as “complete nonsense.” In a meeting with Russian military pilots, Putin accused the alliance of trying to “intimidate” other EU countries to secure further aid for Ukraine. He also rubbished any idea of Russia attacking Poland or the Baltics. 

Recent months have seen military leaders and senior politicians from NATO countries, including Czechia, openly voice concern about Russia’s continued aggression and the possibility of the country carrying out another European invasion. 

Earlier this week at a Czech Security Information Service (BIS) press conference, President Petr Pavel said that the risk of Russian aggression was omnipresent; Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský echoed his sentiments, saying: “The Czech Republic is not safe.” The BIS went as far as to say that Czechia faces its biggest security risk since World War II, and labeled Russia its greatest threat.

Russia still anti-NATO, will shoot down aircraft

Despite his denial of aggressive intentions towards EU states, Putin also criticized the expansion of NATO, stating that they "seem to believe that all this somehow corresponds to their [NATO states’] national interests." He added: "They are afraid of a big Russia." Finland joined NATO in 2023, and Sweden, the bloc’s newest member, acceded in 2024.

The Russian president went on to say that the warnings of an attack were simply a way to deceive the public and justify increased aid to Ukraine from the West. He also warned that if the West continues to supply Ukraine with F-16 fighter jets, the Russian army will shoot them down, news agency Reuters reports.

"We have no other choice but to destroy these planes," Putin stated. "Just as today we destroy Western tanks, armored vehicles, and other equipment, including rocket launchers." He emphasized that the Russian army would consider the planes a legitimate target, whether they take off from Ukraine or other countries.

In response to the warnings from Putin and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, NATO has reaffirmed its support for its Central and East European partners. A spokesperson for the alliance stated: "We stand by our allies, and we stand by our commitment to collective defense." They also stressed that any actions taken by NATO are in accordance with international law.

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