PM Fiala: Russia’s expansionist ambitions must be stopped regardless of cost and time

Petr Fiala

Addressing a meeting of Czech diplomats at Czernin Palace, Prime Minister Petr Fiala highlighted Russia's imperialist policy as the foremost security concern facing the Czech Republic and the democratic world. He said Russian attempts to recover its one-time sphere of influence must be stopped, no matter how costly it is, or how long it takes.

Meeting of Czech diplomats at Czernin Palace | Photo: Czech Foreign Ministry

In the past, the annual consultations of Czech diplomats at Czernin Palace tended to revolve around economic diplomacy. This year they revolved mainly around the new security threat stemming from Russia’s expansionist ambitions. Prime Minister Petr Fiala stressed that Czechia must persevere in its efforts to help Ukraine win this war; no matter the cost or time it would take.

“The number one security threat to our country today is Russia's imperialist policy. There can be no question that Russian attempts to recover its one-time sphere of influence must be stopped, because failure to do so would encourage not only the Putin regime, but also other aggressors. We can only deter and isolate Russia together with our allies, and the strongest message to Russia today is our unity, although that unity may become increasingly costly as time passes."

The prime minister stressed that Czechia must complete the process of cutting its energy dependence on Russia as quickly as possible and expressed optimism that this would be achieved in the coming months.

Jan Lipavský | Photo: Czech Foreign Ministry

Many of these sentiments were echoed by Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky, who said that as long as “Putinism” reigned in Russia the world would not be a safe place. He said Russia’s brutal attack on Ukraine was an attack on Western values: liberal democracy, freedom and human rights.

“We know from our own bitter experience where appeasement leads. We know how important it is to live in a world where international law is respected and where superpowers cannot rewrite borders as they wish. It is our duty to help Ukraine. We will continue to do so for as long as is needed. We will continue providing military and humanitarian aid and speaking up for Ukraine on international platforms. We fully support President Zelensky’s 10 point peace plan, which now appears to be the only way out of the worst military conflict in Europe since WWII.”

The Czech foreign minister also stressed the need to investigate and punish the war crimes committed by Russia in Ukraine. He said Czechia actively supports the establishment of a special tribunal for this purpose, saying it is one of the areas in which the country had offered its assistance.

Dimitro Kuleba and Jan Lipavský | Photo: Czech Foreign Ministry

In his address the minister also mentioned two events in support of Ukraine due to take place in Prague in the autumn: a Parliamentary Summit of the International Crimea Platform, due to be attended by over 30 countries on October 24, and Forum for Ukraine, which will be held in Prague in October as part of Forum 2000.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dimitro Kuleba, who visited Prague on Monday and addressed the gathering of Czech diplomats thanked Czechia for its support, saying that in the past painful year the two countries had established a strong relationship.

Černín Palace - Czech Foreign Ministry | Photo: Czech Foreign Ministry