Daily news summary
The National Security Council will meet to discuss Ukraine, energy security
In light of the situation in Ukraine, the Czech National Security Council is due to meet Sunday evening. Members of the council, which includes the foreign, defence, finance and interior ministers, will discuss the developments Ukraine also in connection with the EU and NATO, the prime minister said. Czech energy security will also be reviewed with the head of the Administration of State Material Reserves, Pavel Švagr, attending.
Three dozen protest in front of Russian embassy
Around three dozen people demonstrated in front of the Russian embassy in Prague on Saturday, holding up signs and placards calling on Russia to stop military intervention in Ukraine. Six police officers monitored the protest; no incidents were reported. One of the demonstrators, a Russian national, said he had come out to express solidarity with an injured Ukrainian colleague. He said he was against war and against the occupation of Ukraine, which he called a tragedy for both countries.
Another demonstration in front of the embassy followed on Sunday, this time attended by several hundred people.
Police team heads to Egypt
A six-person team, including members of the police presidium and members of the Moravian-Silesian criminal police, has travelled to Egypt with the aim of boosting cooperation. No formal agreement between police in both countries currently exists. Members of the team, expected to stay in Egypt for roughly a week, will not only meet with their counterparts, but will continue their investigation of a Czech national suspected of having poisoned his wife and daughter on vacation in Egypt last year. The suspect has been remanded in custody in the Czech Republic.
PM: no godfathers in Social Democratic Party
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, the head of the Social Democrats, has denied there are any so-called godfathers in his party pulling strings from behind the scenes. He made the statement on a Sunday debate programme, in response to the president's comment earlier this week that all parties attracted such figures. Mr Sobotka recently claimed that so-called godfathers, either former Civic Democrats or TOP 09 members, were amassing around ANO - who are Mr Sobotka's partners in the government. ANO leader, Finance Minister Andrej Babiš, denied the accusation and made a similar claim about the Social Democrats.
Zaorálek meets with Russian ambassador
The Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek met with Russia's ambassador to Prague on Sunday, informing him of the country's position - that military intervention in Ukraine is unacceptable. He appealed to Russia not to use military force to solve matters in Crimea but instead to sit down for negotiations. Mr Zaorálek confirmed he would not be recalling the Czech ambassador to Moscow, suggesting that dialogue was more important. He also indicated he did not think that that the threat of sanctions or embargoes against Moscow was the way forward.
Foreign Ministry warns Czechs not to travel to eastern Ukraine and Crimea
The Czech Foreign Ministry has warned Czech citizens not to travel to eastern Ukraine and Crimea in light of growing tensions in the area; those already there have been advised to depart. The crisis in Ukraine escalated as unidentified Russian forces took full control of Crimea - where Russia's Black Sea fleet is based - ignoring Ukrainian sovereignty on the pretense they were there to protect Russian-speakers. In response, Ukraine called up its reserves and ordered full combat readiness for troops, raising the stakes in the growing stand-off.
World leaders, including US President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron, have condemned Russian intervention in Crimea as a violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and a breach of international law. But Russia's president, Vladimir Putin, has thus far ignored calls for troops to withdraw to the base in Sevastopol. In a phone call with the US president, he reportedly stressed that Russia would act not only in Crimea but in the east of Ukraine, if necessary, to protect its interests. Mr Obama had issued a warning in a press conference on Friday that there would be costs if Russia continued on its current course.
18 year-old charged with brutal murder of senior
Police have charged an 18 year-old suspect with a particularly brutal murder in a village near Litoměřice which took place Friday evening. Police said only that the suspect, allegedly dependent on alcohol and drugs, had killed a senior 80 years of age. If found guilty, the man could receive an extraordinary sentence between 20 to 30 years in prison. Although police refused to release details, TV stations on Saturday reported the killer had used a blunt object - a hammer or other item.