The Czech prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka, and president, Miloš Zeman, agreed at a meeting on Wednesday that the country should halt a fall in spending on defence. Mr. Sobotka said otherwise the Czech Republic would not be able to fulfil tasks arising from its membership of NATO. The two leaders also discussed the coordination of positions regarding foreign policy and economic diplomacy. On a visit to Prague recently the NATO secretary general, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, called on the Czech military spending was too low. The military alliance wants members to spend the equivalent of 2 percent of GDP on defence; the Czech Republic puts just over 1.1 percent into defence and reduced spending in that area under the last government.
American Vice President Joe Biden on Saturday spoke to the premiers of the Czech Republic and Hungary about developments in Ukraine, assuring them of the United States’ commitment to collective defense under NATO’s Article 5, which stipulates that an attack against one member of the alliance is an attack against all. The Czech News Agency reported that Mr Biden spoke for 45 minutes over the phone with Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, discussing new sanctions against Russia for failing to withdraw troops on Ukraine’s border and for failing to de-escalate tension in the area as agreed in talks in Geneva. The two also discussed the situation of OSCE observers - including a Czech national - being held captive by pro-Russian separatists. The Czech Foreign and Defence Ministries are working with partners to try and secure the observers’ release. The Czech Republic joined NATO in 1999; Article 5 was first invoked in 2001 after the 9/11 terrorist attacks against the United States.
The Czech Republic is ready to offer the services of 300 soldiers and four Gripen fighter jets for the protection of NATO members Defence Minister Martin Stropnický announced on Thursday evening in light of the continuing crisis in Ukraine. The announcement came after NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen announced a bolstering of alliance country defences a day earlier, including fighter jets and sea power in the Baltic as well as the east Mediterranean. The NATO head and other top officials have sharply criticised the amassing of troops by Russia on the Ukraine border. In talks in Geneva on Thursday, Russia, Ukraine, the EU and the US agreed to steps aimed at de-escalating the situation. The steps were welcomed cautiously by the White House which is waiting to see how the deal translates on the ground.
Czech president Miloš Zeman believes that Ukrainian authorities should negotiate with representative of the Russian speaking population in the east of the country to avoid widespread violence and lay the foundations for stability in the country. Groups calling for parts of the country to be ceded to Russia have occupied key buildings in several towns and cities with an ultimatum running out on Monday for them to leave. At least two people have been killed in the latest clashes. President’s Zeman’s opinions were communicated by his spokesman, Jiří Ovčaček, in a news briefing on Monday.
NATO should take steps such as deploying forces to the Baltic States and Romania and stepping up the naval presence in the Black Sea to signal the alliance’s concern about further Russian intervention in Ukraine and signal that it was unacceptable, according to the Czech head of state. His spokesman Jiří Ovčaček said some media had misinterpreted the president’s previous comments as calling for NATO military intervention in Ukraine to counter any new moves by Russia there. That was not the case but at the same time the example of the Soviet-led invasion of then Czechoslovakia should not be forgotten, the spokesman said.
Around 600 soldiers, from the Czech Republic and 10 other NATO allies including Belgium, Germany, Great Britain, and the US, will take part in international military training in the Czech Republic in September. Ample Strike 2014 is similar to previous operations such as Flying Rhino or Ramstein Rover, but for the first time Ample Strike will be held under the auspices of the Czech Army. The military training operation will begin on September 3 and last until the 15.
NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen has described Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region as the most serious security crisis since the end of the Cold War. In Prague on Thursday, the NATO secretary general demanded that Russia de-escalate tensions and withdraw around 40,000 troops from near the Ukrainian border. But what can the alliance do to pressure Moscow to back down? And are there any circumstances under which NATO would react militarily in the case of further Russian aggression? I put those questions to Mr. Rasmussen shortly before his
The European Union and NATO should send a strong message to Russia by extending military operations into areas of Ukraine and possibly Moldavia, Czech President Miloš Zeman said Friday, reiterating a view he shared a day earlier with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen in Prague. The president’s stance differs from that of the Czech prime minister, Bohuslav Sobotka, who stated it was not the time for "beating the war drum"; he indicated that he favoured diplomacy over threats. According to President Zeman, Russia needed to be sent a strong message to dissuade the country from considering any further annexation of regions in Ukraine after it took control of Crimea.
NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen has been in Prague on Thursday for talks with the Czech prime minister and other senior officials. Naturally Russian aggression towards Ukraine has been on the agenda, but the alliance’s secretary general has also been trying to persuade Prague to boost its military spending.
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