The Czech government has declared a state of emergency as it awaits a massive influx of Ukrainian refugees.
Around 30,000 Ukrainians have already entered the Czech Republic since Russia waged a military attack on Ukraine.
The state of emergency will come into force on Friday (4 March). Over the past two years, the state of emergency was declared several times due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This time, no restrictive measures will be applied.
“It is not a state of emergency for the citizens of the Czech Republic. We are introducing the state of emergency to cope with the influx of refugees,” Prime Minister Petr Fiala (ODS, ECR) said on Wednesday (2 March).
The interior ministry estimates that around 5,000 refugees arrive in the Czech Republic daily. The government claims that a state of emergency is necessary to manage the migration flow effectively. In each Czech region, a special hotspot for Ukrainians will be established.
“I realize what the phrase emergency means to us, we are all nervous about it,” said Rakušan. “But it is an instrument that allows for better coordination, centralization, better crisis management. We are only declaring a state of emergency to help our fellow Ukrainians, to help all the people who are taking good care of them.”
The government will pump an extra €39 million into the state defence budget. Fiala also assured Czech citizens that there is no need to be afraid as the country is safe.
“We have no signals of danger. We are part of the EU and NATO, which guarantees our security,” Fiala added.
Alongside the state of emergency, Fiala said the Defence Ministry budget will be increased by CZK 1 billion, with more funding to be released if necessary. The government will discuss the further donation of military aid to Ukraine later this week.
He also stressed that despite sanctions against Russia, the country has enough gas and oil reserves. “In per capita terms, gas storage capacities in the Czech Republic are among the highest in Europe,” Fiala said.
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