The response to Russian aggression towards Ukraine must be swift and strong, Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský told a press briefing on Tuesday following a crisis meeting on the escalating situation at the Ukrainian border.
Lipavský revealed that he still believes there is a diplomatic solution to the crisis, despite Russian activities intensifying, and confirmed that he will travel to Ukraine on Feb. 7 to express his support.
The Czech foreign minister explained that the evacuation of Czech diplomats was not yet being planned but advised Czech citizens not to travel to the border areas of Ukraine.
“We are examining all crisis mechanisms and a working group has been meeting since last week to evaluate relevant information,” Lipavský told reporters.
Lipavský will travel on the Czech government aircraft to Bratislava on Feb. 7 to meet Ivan Korčok, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Slovakia, and Alexander Schallenberg, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Austria, before continuing on to Ukraine where, alongside their Ukrainian counterpart they will visit the contact lines in eastern Ukraine.
Diplomatic solution is failing
Lipavský added that whilst he still believes in a diplomatic solution to the crisis and supports all diplomatic activities, time is of the essence.
“[Diplomatic talks] are failing, though, and Russia continues to intensify its activities. The answer must be fast and powerful,” said the minister, confirming that Czechia is prepared to support economic sanctions against Russia.
He also reiterated the plan to donate ammunition to Ukraine, which he said is part of an international effort to deter Russia from its intended aggression.
Prime Minister Petr Fiala has confirmed that the government plans to approve the request for sending ammunition to Ukraine.
“We are communicating with the Ukrainian side, and the whole thing will be continuously monitored and evaluated by the crisis staff of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. If necessary, further steps will follow,” he said.
On Tuesday, Czech Interior Minister Vít Rakušan said in Bratislava that if the situation in Ukraine worsened, Czechia and Slovakia should proceed together.