100 days since start of Russian invasion: how much has Czechia helped Ukraine?

June 3 marks 100 days since Russia unleashed a war in Ukraine. We look back at what the Czech Republic has done to help the war-torn country. 

The Czech Republic was one of the first countries to offer vocal and active support for Ukraine, with Prime Minister Petr Fiala visiting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv on March 15 along with his Polish and Slovenian counterparts. The visit was the first by foreign government leaders to Ukraine since the Russian invasion began on February 24.

Photo: René Volfík,  Czech Radio

Right from the beginning, the Czech Republic showed its support by welcoming refugees fleeing the war and by March 8 there were 100,000 Ukrainian war refugees in the country. To date 362 402 temporary humanitarian visas have been issued and 274 795 Ukrainian refugees have registered with the foreign police. An estimated 300 000 currently remain in the Czech Republic while around 25-30 000 have returned to Ukraine. 1400 Ukrainians applied for temporary protection in Czechia but were not granted it.

With the temporary protection visa, refugees are also granted free access to the labour market, with about 63 000 having found work so far. Similarly, the humanitarian visa provides access to public health insurance and education, with around 26 000 Ukrainian children attending Czech elementary schools and 3 800 in kindergartens. The majority of Ukrainian child refugees are not yet enrolled at Czech schools, but a larger intake is expected in September.

Photo: René Volfík,  Czech Radio

Czechia is also one of the five largest donors of military aid to Ukraine, providing around CZK 3 billion in military assistance so far.

The country has also been pulling its weight in terms of humanitarian aid. One day after the Russians invaded Ukraine the government of the Czech Republic earmarked CZK 300 million for immediate humanitarian aid to the country, and to date the Czech state has donated around €40 million in total.

On top of this there have been enormous fundraising efforts by Czech charities, with Czechs donating more in response to the Ukraine crisis than to any previous natural or man-made disaster. Czechs contributed more than CZK 1.5 billion in humanitarian aid to Ukraine in the first two weeks of the war, with most of the donations going to the NGO People in Need and further major contributions raised by the Czech Red Cross and the Czech branch of Caritas.

Photo: René Volfík,  Czech Radio

Meanwhile, Czech media, arts and culture have also tried to do their bit, with Czech Radio launching a podcast in Ukrainian and Czech Television broadcasting its main news programme in Ukrainian. A large concert was held on Wenceslas Square on March 1 to show support for Ukraine, raising a further CZK 180 million for humanitarian aid, with many smaller such events taking place around the country.

Author: Anna Fodor
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