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Czech Foreign Minister: Ukraine must win the war and get to Europe
Photo: © MZV ČR / MFA CZ
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Czech Foreign Minister: Ukraine must win the war and get to Europe


Minister of Foreign Affairs Jan Lipavský's  interview for the Estonian daily Eesti Päevaleh.

Jan Lipavský promises that during the EU presidency the Czech Republic will focus on helping Ukraine join the EU.

In the middle of the summer, after France, the Czech Republic will take over the presidency of the European Union. The Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský, who spoke at the Lennart Meri conference in Tallinn this weekend, admitted to Eesti Päevaleht that Ukraine's desire to become an EU candidate country quickly is causing "some discussions" among the member states. However, it is planned to keep Ukraine's efforts on the agenda in Prague at all times.

Speaking of the war, Foreign Minister Lipavský was resolute: Putin must not win the war nor be able to take control over the Ukrainian people. Although Lipavský says it is difficult to predict how the war will end, he strongly believes that Ukraine will survive. "I am especially grateful to Estonia and the Estonians for the way you support Ukraine," he said. "It is not just a question of solidarity, but also that Estonians understand what it means to face the Moscow regime. The Russians usually only understand force. I want Ukraine to establish its country within its internationally recognized borders and that this war will end as soon as possible. "

According to Lipavský, the main thing now is to ensure that military assistance to Ukraine continues. "At the moment, our help is enough for Ukraine to succeed in Kharkiv and slow down Russia's advance in the Donbass," he said. "We must be ready for a long conflict. There are always things that can still be done. Given the significant financial assistance package awaiting approval in the US and the EU's contribution to the delivery of military aid, I am sure that we are doing as much as possible."


There will be long discussions

Greater emphasis on Ukraine and Ukraine's European aspirations is a key theme of the Czech Presidency. "The presidency can influence some aspects of the EU's work," the minister said. "I intend to put more emphasis on Ukraine, especially on how Ukraine can become a full part of Europe. I'm not just talking about the EU, I'm talking about Ukraine's aspirations to get to Europe."

Lipavský made it no secret that there will probably be long discussions on this issue, but it is promised from Prague to push it whenever possible. "It's a long process and we have to come back to it regularly," the minister said. He intends to discuss the matter at a conference in Prague in the autumn. "Progress on all policy issues depends on all 27 EU Member States and what they are able to agree on."


The issue of the Czech oil supply was resolved

The European Union is still discussing the issue of the Russian oil embargo, which, according to the initial proposal of the European Commission, was to enter into force gradually by the end of the year. However, the opposition of the Hungarian autocratic Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has not yet been overcome. As the imposition of sanctions requires a unanimous decision, Orbán can trade with it.

Immediately after the introduction of the sanctions plan, there were indications from the Czech Republic that they could be in trouble with the oil embargo. The Czech Republic is a country without a maritime border, where it is more difficult to replace pipeline oil supplies in particular. Now Lipavský told Eesti Päevaleht that the issue has been resolved and Prague supports the oil embargo.

"It wasn't difficult, we just have to solve the current shortcoming of our system: there is not enough capacity in the main pipeline connection," he said. "Once that's resolved, we'll be fully equipped from other sources." According to foreign media reports, the Commission promised the Czech Republic an exemption from the embargo until June 2024.