Lipavský in Washington: “Ukraine must regain Crimea to put an end to Putin's imperialistic dreams”

Jan Lipavský

The Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský made it clear during his meeting with his American counterpart Antony Blinken in Washington on Tuesday that Czechia is aligned with the US on important issues such as support for Ukraine, mutual defence, and relations with China.

Antony Blinken | Photo: Alex Brandon,  ČTK/AP

The foreign minister made Czechia’s stance towards Putin and the Russian invasion of Ukraine clear when talking to his American counterpart, Antony Blinken. He stressed the importance of standing up to dictators, saying appeasement has been shown not to work, and that it is not enough for Ukraine to take back the territory lost since 2022.

"I said that it is crucial that Ukraine is able to restore its borders from 1991, for it to regain Crimea, and thus to put an end to Putin's imperialistic dreams."

The war in Ukraine and how to continue supporting the invaded country was the main topic of discussion on the table. Lipavský stressed that military aid was crucial for Ukraine’s defence, including the expected upcoming Ukrainian counter-offensive.

Antony Blinken and Jan Lipavský | Photo:  Alex Brandon,  ČTK/AP

"We agreed that if Ukraine is to be successful in further military operations, and by that I mean the planned spring or summer offensive, then above all we need to make sure we deliver a sufficient amount of ammunition. This is a topic that resonates in Europe as well."

Public support in the US for aid to Ukraine has been gradually waning and is causing heated debate across the Democrat-Republican political divide. The current government has been providing humanitarian and military aid to Ukraine, but pro-Trump Republicans are against sending arms and munitions to Kyiv. Two weeks ago a group of Republicans in Congress wrote a letter calling on the Biden administration to end what they called “unlimited arms supply in support of an endless war”.

However, not all Republicans are against sending military aid to Ukraine. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy recently rebuked a Russian reporter who questioned his support for Ukraine, delivering his most vehement defence of Kyiv's war effort since Republicans won the House majority.

Lipavský commented on the political debate in the US, drawing parallels with the debate at home.

"I see the domestic debate that is going on in the United States about Ukraine, what some Republican politicians are saying. We also have a similar political debate in the Czech Republic. But it is necessary to talk to people from across the political spectrum. I will put the arguments on the table and show why it is important that we work together to defend the free democratic world."

He sees a potential bridge across the divide in connecting the issue of Ukraine with the issue of China, against which both Democrats and Republicans are united.

"China is following the development of the Russian war against Ukraine very closely. And it will have an impact on other international relations. China is a growing world power, and dependence on China creates risk, whether in the realm of cyber security, artificial intelligence, or renewable energy sources. We are dependent on China, for example, for the supply of solar panels."

Lipavský also stressed during his trip to Washington that Czechia is decidedly with the US in wanting to react to the rise of China and to respond early to the threats it poses.

"The United States acknowledges this, they perceive us as a reliable partner in Central Europe. They see that we have good relations with Taiwan and they applaud us for that. It makes us a relevant player here in Washington."

Author: Anna Fodor
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