The courage of Ukrainians is an inspiration, Pavel said on the anniversary of the start of Russian aggression

The courage of Ukrainians is an inspiration, Pavel said on the anniversary of the start of Russian aggression

The courage of Ukrainians is an inspiration, Pavel said on the anniversary of the beginning of Russian ; aggression

Illustrative photo – President-elect Petr Pavel's press conference to summarize the bilateral negotiations in Munich and the program for the following week. February 20, 2023, Prague.

Prague – The courage of the Ukrainians, who have been facing Russian aggression for exactly one year, inspires Europe and the entire democratic community. They deserve recognition, respect, but also real and practical support by all means, President-elect Petr Pavel said on the anniversary of the beginning of the conflict. In a post on Twitter, he also said that the courage of Ukrainians reminds us that in the fight for sovereignty and values, concessions cannot be made. In an interview with Český rozhlas Radiožurnál, the transcript of which was published by the server, Pavel said that the conditions for ending the conflict should be determined by Ukraine. According to him, “no one can prescribe” for Ukraine what the result should be. Ukrainians need to be “supported as much as possible to achieve their vision of the target state”, he believes.

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“Our people are not dying, our cities are not being destroyed. It should be the Ukrainians who evaluate at what point they will be able to declare the conditions for the start of negotiations. We should not pressure them to fight to the last man, because our people are not. And we shouldn't push them to make concessions either. Our role is to support them to reach their target state,” said Pavel.

When asked whether the North Atlantic Alliance was well prepared for the Russian invasion and should have done something differently or faster a year ago, a former senior representative of the Czech army and NATO said that it could have been more predictable. According to him, a greater presence of NATO on the territory of Ukraine, for example in the form of exercises, could have contributed to deterring aggression. “The alliance was quite prepared if Russia took an aggressive step in parallel against NATO countries, for example the Baltics. Collective defense and all emergency forces work there. But when it comes to Ukraine, there was initially a great fear that the conflict would not escalate, that we would not get into a situation , when NATO countries will be perceived as part of the conflict,” he said.

The year that has passed since the start of the annexation shows, according to Pavel, that the coming period will be a period of competition between democracies and authoritarian regimes, which will take a multispectral form from competition from economic, financial, scientific to military. “There is really a group of states emerging that are willing to cooperate in competing with democracies, even if they stand on completely different foundations. And we simply have to come to terms with this reality. We have to take into account that even a country like China, with which we have trade , which has not yet behaved militarily aggressively towards democratic countries, has completely different strategic goals. It has completely different foundations on which it stands, and we must be aware of that,” he stated. According to him, the Czech Republic should conclude from this that cooperation is necessary not only in the EU and NATO, but that it should strive for the closest possible cooperation with other democratic regimes, including the largest, most populous democratic country in the world, India.