PM draws fire for saying Czech Republic will not call for NATO troop increase
The head of the smallest party in government, the Christian Democrats, has criticised Social Democrat Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka for saying the Czech Republic would not be calling for more NATO troops in Europe. The premier made the comment following US President Barack Obama’s pledge in Warsaw to put an extra one billion US dollars into defence in Eastern Europe.
“Some countries are addressing NATO and asking for a greater military presence – I know that is the case with Poland and with some of the Baltic states. We have assessed the security situation at present and we don’t need anything similar. The Czech Republic will not be and isn’t one of the countries calling for an increase in NATO troops in Europe.”
“This is something that was not consulted and not discussed at the government level and goes directly against the Czech Republic’s long-term strategy on defence.”
The Civic Democrats’, traditionally hawkish when it comes to European security, meanwhile, made clear they would welcome a greater US presence as a deterrent to Russia. Even their ideological rival, President Miloš Zeman, suggested in this case the increase of US NATO troops was not a bad idea.
“It is a gesture which means that if Russia were to occupy, for example, eastern Ukraine, such an occupation would not be accepted without a response.”