Lipavský supports sanctions to curb Russia on Ukraine

The United States and Britain have withdrawn family members of their diplomatic staff from Ukraine amid growing fears that Russia is preparing to invade the country.

The Czech Republic, however, is following the European Union’s approach, leaving dependents in their diplomatic missions in Ukraine for the time being.

Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský spoke to reporters after an emergency meeting on Tuesday afternoon.

“Based on today’s discussions at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs crisis cell, we are not issuing any orders to evacuate personnel from our diplomatic offices. Our assessment was that the situation had not yet reached such a point.

Jan Lipavsky |  Photo: Ondřej Deml, ČTK

The Czech Republic has an embassy in Kyiv and a consulate general in Lviv and more than 100 people would be affected if staff and their family members were brought home.

However, many Czechs based in Ukraine may also need help, the Czech foreign policy chief said.

In the meantime, Mr Lipavský said the situation could deteriorate suddenly and called on his country’s citizens to refrain from traveling to border areas in the east and north of Ukraine.

Mr Lipavský also called on Czechs visiting or residing in Ukraine to register in his ministry’s special extreme situations database, known as Drozd.

More generally, the minister said that all attempts by the EU and NATO to defuse tensions caused by Russia had so far proved unsuccessful.

Mr Lipavský told Czech television that he had been advocating for sanctions against Russia for some time as the most effective response to its aggression.

He told the Interview program that international sanctions proved effective after Russia invaded Ukraine’s Crimea region in 2014.

Photo: ČTK/AP/Uncredited

“Sanctions are strength. That’s why Putin listens to them. This equation is quite simple. It’s a whole range of measures, from diplomatic talks to activities within NATO, where military capacity is enhanced. This also includes preparation at the diplomatic level and the imposition of economic sanctions.

However, Mr Lipavský said that the concrete form of possible sanctions was still under discussion.

Following talks between EU foreign ministers and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, he hailed Washington’s approach to the crisis.

“There have been a series of briefings by the US where European states are briefed on various Russian demands…I was part of a call yesterday between EU foreign ministers and our US counterpart and I have to say that, while there are different views on the United States around Europe, I would describe it as a “Euro-Atlantic idyll” – which is a sign that the situation is really serious . »

Berta D. Wells