Fiala: Russia’s attack on Ukraine was turning point like 9/11

Prime Minister Petr Fiala said at the opening of the Forum 2000 conference in Prague on Wednesday that Russia's attack on Ukraine has been a turning point for the world, like the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the USA were in 2001, the Czech News Agency reports. He also said that that period of history would forever be associated with late Czech President Václav Havel, who co-founded the Forum 2000 conference, and that Russia’s attack has renewed the alliance of Western democracies, with NATO and the European Union expanding and becoming stronger as a result.

After Mr. Fiala's opening speech, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy joined the conference via video call. At the beginning of his speech, Zelenskyi recalled the events of the Prague Spring and their violent suppression by the Warsaw Pact armies in August 1968. He said the insufficient reaction of the West at that time meant an opportunity to liberate the Soviet bloc countries was squandered. He went on to say that Ukraine still needs support from the West in its fight for freedom, in the form of weapons, ammunition, money, and additional pressure on Russia. He proposed introducing additional sanctions packages against Russia, covering energy and finance. A special war crimes tribunal should also be established and the EU should ban Russian propaganda media, he said.

The 26th edition of the Forum 2000 international conference, which focuses on threats to democracy and the response to them, kicked off in Prague on Wednesday. The central topic on the agenda is Ukraine, with a high-level conference, the Forum for Ukraine, set up to discuss the situation in the country. Other items on the agenda are Chinese threats to Taiwan and the issue of building global democratic unity and solidarity.

Author: Anna Fodor