The hundreds of Czech citizens who wish to help defend Ukraine in the ongoing conflict with Russia will be guaranteed impunity, Czechia’s Prime Minister Petr Fiala announced following talks with President Miloš Zeman.
“As Prime Minister, I cannot encourage or support anyone to go to war in foreign territory,” noted Fiala after speaking with the Czech president, explaining that Czech citizens have many other options to show support and solidarity with Ukraine.
“We agreed that it is not possible to give any collective option, nor to provide individual approval given the number [of those wanting to fight] and the certain risks that accompany this, but we have agreed that we can guarantee impunity,” Fiala told reporters.
Czech citizens are typically banned from serving in a foreign army and must usually request an exemption from the country’s president should they wish to participate in a foreign conflict. However, Fiala and Zeman agreed that with regard to the crisis in Ukraine, the president’s abolition with the Prime Minister’s countersignature would be sufficient.
Abolition means the right of the president to decide that criminal proceedings should not be instituted for a particular crime, and Fiala explicitly stated that this would apply only to those who participate in the war on the side of the Ukrainians.
Until the last moment, President Zeman rejected reports from the Western intelligence services that Russian troops could invade Ukraine. However, after the invasion started, he strongly condemned Russia’s actions, calling it a crime against peace and urging support for Ukraine. He also spoke in favor of harsh sanctions against Russia.