Overview of Czech news: Monday, March 7, 2022
13:54 Czechia joined by entire EU on Russian list of hostile states
The Russian government today added nearly 50 countries to its list of states hostile to Russia, including all European Union countries and 18 others. Previously, the Czech Republic and the United States were the only countries on the list. The new list was approved under Vladimir Putin’s March 5 decree; other hostile states outside the EU include the UK, Canada, Ukraine, Switzerland, Norway, New Zealand, Singapore and Taiwan.
13:45 The Ukrainian flag flies above Prague Castle
Prague Castle, seat of the Czech President, today hoisted the Ukrainian flag, accompanied by the Ukrainian and Czech national anthems, to express solidarity with Ukraine in its war against Russia. Playing the Ukrainian anthem has become commonplace in the Czech cultural sphere since the invasion of Russia. State honors will be presented at Prague Castle tonight, but the usual post-ceremony reception has been canceled and guests have been asked to support the Ukrainian people financially.
12:27 Czech NGOs raise record CZK 1.5 billion for Ukraine
Humanitarian aid organizations have raised more than 1.5 billion Czech crowns for Ukraine through public fundraising campaigns in the Czech Republic. This is the highest amount ever raised through public fundraising in Czechia for a disaster situation. Millions more are still being sent every day, NGOs have said. Separately, the Ukrainian Embassy in Prague collected nearly 500 million Czech Crowns to support the Ukrainian Armed Forces with new equipment. The previous highest sum raised in the Czech Republic was the CZK 1.3 billion collected last summer after a tornado ripped through South Moravia.
12:04 Beginning of the first school classes for refugee children
The first Ukrainian classes for refugee children fleeing their war-torn homeland started today at the 1st Slavic Lyceum in Prague. The school is one of about 20 in Prague and Brno offering education to displaced Ukrainian children, according to Education Minister Petr Gazdík. The project was prepared by the Embassy of Ukraine in collaboration with the Children of Ukraine Foundation and the former director of Charles University, Tomáš Zima. The Minister of Education meanwhile said that about 100,000 Ukrainian children can also be integrated into standard Czech classes.
10:53 Czechia sees 4,112 Ukrainians arrive on Sunday, 46,000 in total
Another 4,112 Ukrainian refugees registered with immigration police or assistance centers in Czechia on Sunday, bringing the total number of refugees in the country to more than 46,000, according to data released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Interior on Twitter Monday morning.
So far, the ministry has granted more than 57,000 special visas, including 11,438 for Sunday alone. The ministry estimates that 100,000 Ukrainian refugees have arrived in the Czech Republic since the Russian invasion, twice as many as on Friday.
The pressure faced by some registration centres, such as the help desk at the Congress Center in Prague, has increased. The center treated some 2,600 people on Friday, 3,017 on Saturday and 3,284 on Sunday. Czechs less overloaded began.
The Interior Ministry has issued a total of 57,025 special visas so far, around 12,000 on Friday, Saturday and Sunday each. The largest Czech health insurer, VZP, registered some 40,000 Ukrainian refugees with state insurance, or around 10,000 a day.
Refugee crisis 100,000 Ukrainian refugees arrive in Czechia
Around 100,000 Ukrainian refugees have already arrived in the Czech Republic as a result of the Russian invasion, according to Czech Interior Minister Vít Rakušan. Meanwhile, European Commission Vice-President Věra Jourová told reporters that the war could bring as many as eight million people into the EU.
Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský announced that the Czech government would ask the EU for financial assistance to deal with the influx of refugees. Since the outbreak of the war, more than 1.5 million people have fled to neighboring countries, the majority going to Poland. The number of arrivals to Czechia increased significantly over the weekend, with Rakušan estimating the total has now passed the 100,000 mark. Most of them are women, children and the elderly.
Foreign Legion More than 280 Czechs apply to fight in Ukraine
The Czech Defense Ministry has received 284 applications from people wishing to fight Russia in the Ukrainian Armed Forces, the ministry announced yesterday. The number of candidates tripled in the space of four days.
The candidates are eager to fight with Ukraine after Prime Minister Petr Fiala and President Zeman agreed a general presidential pardon for those who will fight in Ukraine. Zeman’s spokesperson previously said that around 300 people had applied to Castle for the possibility of obtaining a presidential exemption to fight in Ukraine, who have now been referred to the Ministry of Defense for standard procedure.
Cost of life Fuel price cap considered in a context of spiraling costs
The Czech cabinet will discuss on Wednesday possible measures to combat rising energy and fuel prices resulting from the war in Ukraine. “We will consider price caps in the area of fuel and energy,” Labor and Social Affairs Minister Maria Jurečka told reporters yesterday. Fuel prices rose to CZK 50 per liter for the first time in parts of the Czech Republic.
Others opposed limiting fuel prices, arguing that it could lead to stockpiling by concerned members of the public. Other possible measures include VAT adjustments or the introduction of a reduction for taxpayers. Rising food prices are also expected to be a major issue with Ukraine known as “Europe’s breadbasket”.
Refugees Czech aid trains to Ukraine blocked in Slovakia
Two trains from the Czech Republic carrying aid to war-stricken Ukraine got stuck in Slovakia this morning, failing to cross the Ukrainian border due to administrative problems. The hold-up means that humanitarian aid is kept away from the refugees who need it. There are, meanwhile, fears that the return will also be fraught with pitfalls, with the Slovak authorities not having enough cross-border workers to handle the Ukrainian refugees expected to travel to Czechia by train.
Hundreds of people are counting on the arriving trains to take them safely across the Ukrainian border. But the problems mean the trains will only serve Ukrainians already in the Schengen zone, on the Slovak side of the border.
Media freedom Czech television and radio continue to work in Russia
Czech TV and Czech radio have yet to withdraw their correspondents from Russia, despite a Kremlin-enacted law threatening stiff penalties of up to 15 years in prison for spreading “disinformation” about the Russian armed forces. A Czech radio spokesman said the new law was being reviewed but the station wanted to keep its journalists on the ground in Russia for as long as possible given the situation.
Meanwhile, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, a US-funded media outlet founded during the Cold War to broadcast news to Eastern countries, announced the end of its operations in Russia following the new media law. The station’s president and CEO said the move was the result of the Putin regime’s “assault on the truth.”