Command meeting of the Chief of the General Staff of the Army of the Czech Republic Karel Řehka (pictured) to evaluate the main tasks of the army in 2022, February 21, 2023, Prague.
Prague – War in Europe is not unthinkable and we will not have time to prepare for it if we do not prepare for the long term already in peace. Chief of the General Staff Karel Řehka said this at today's command meeting at the headquarters of the Ministry of Defense in Prague. He described membership in the North Atlantic Alliance (NATO) as the best possible deterrent, which reduces the likelihood of threats. Defense Minister Jana Černochová (ODS) said in a speech that the Russian invasion of Ukraine changed the security situation the most since World War II. According to her, many, including the previous government, succumbed to the illusion of eternal peace in Europe.
If a conflict were to break out between NATO and Russia, the Czech Republic would be an active participant from the first minute, Řehka repeated. “A large part of our army will leave to fight according to the alliance's defense plans. Our territory will become an important transit zone and base, and it is again up to us soldiers to make this zone safe and functional,” he said.
In the event of a conflict between NATO and Russia, there would be a large number of legitimate targets in the Czech Republic that are already within reach of Russian weapons today. “Russia will not wait for us to organize ourselves and go somewhere on the battlefield to kill its soldiers. It will react immediately. The life of every soldier and citizen of the Czech Republic will immediately turn upside down, everything will be different,” he said. He considers it necessary not to lie about anything and to inform the public about it.
Three decades of freedom, peace and security are more of an anomaly than a rule in modern history, added Řehka. “We must not take it for granted. We must actively support and defend our way of life, otherwise we will lose it. War in Europe is not unthinkable, and we will not have time to prepare for it if we do not prepare for the long term already in peace,” he said.
< p>Řehka considers it likely that NATO's war with Russia would last more than a few weeks. “Our resources of a long-term underfunded professional army and active reserves would definitely not be enough for this. The state would have to proceed with some form of mobilization of material and people,” he emphasized. He finds it strange that anyone dwells on this fact. “This is simply a reality that is clear to anyone who is serious about defense,” he said.
According to him, it is time to start reminding that there is conscription established by law, a system of mobilization and that not only the army is involved in defense. The public should not be afraid of this. “However, it is necessary to say things frankly and inform the public about it as well. It is part of building resilience and defense,” he added.
According to him, the Czech government, society and the army are doing the best they can to strive for Ukraine's military victory on the battlefield. “Regardless of the outcome of the war in Ukraine, we must expect that Russia will be a threat to us. Whether we like it or not, we must prepare for a possible clash between Russia and NATO,” he said. He called it the only way to avoid war.
“The aim of our efforts is not to provoke a war, but to avoid it. But if it does happen, we must win it. The only way to achieve this is to show an aggressive Russia that none of his efforts have a chance of success,” he said. According to Řehka, Russia only understands the unity of the alliance, determination, military strength and readiness for a military clash.
Černochová: The Russian invasion changed the security situation, showed how we fell asleep
The events of the past year have completely changed the security situation, the most since World War II. It was clear how much we fell asleep in the last 30 years, Minister Černochová said at the command meeting. She confirmed the unity of the West after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Many, including the previous government, succumbed to the illusion of eternal peace in Europe, the minister said, adding that she took over the department with a severely underfunded budget and an army with technology from the last century. He believes that will change quickly.