Czech Republic Should Accept Russians Fleeing Mobilisation, Says Zeman
Four days ago Putin told the press that he would call up 300,000 reservists to intervene in the Ukrainian conflict, since then people have been fleeing the country. Photo Credit: hrad.cz.
Lany, Central Bohemia, Sept 26 (CTK) – The Czech Republic should accept Russians fleeing from mobilisation, as people fleeing Russia do not pose a security risk, President Milos Zeman said on CNN Prima News TV’s “Duel” yesterday.
Russian President Vladimir Putin declared a partial mobilisation on Wednesday. Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky (Pirates) told CTK on Thursday that Russians fleeing their country to avoid mobilisation would not fulfil the conditions for granting humanitarian visas.
Zeman said today that he disagreed with Lipavsky. “I think that we should grant visas to these people in the same way as to Ukrainian refugees… A person fleeing Russia is no security risk,” Zeman said.
The European Commission said on Thursday that it was up to EU member states whether to let in people from Russia. EU countries should always guarantee entry to people requesting asylum, and review their requests individually, the Commission added.
Prime Minister Petr Fiala (ODS) said the Czech Republic would deal with the possible deserters as all applicants for asylum. “If someone comes, the application will be judged within the routine asylum proceedings,” Fiala said, adding that the government had no signals of any massive arrival of Russians wanting to avoid mobilisation.
The Baltic countries announced on Wednesday that they would not provide refuge for Russians fleeing mobilisation, whereas Germany is prepared to admit deserters from the Russian army.
The Czech Republic was the first EU country to discontinue the issuing of visas for Russians, one day after the invasion of Ukraine, on 25 February. The ban, later also imposed on Belarusians, is still valid, although there are exceptions for humanitarian cases.
Putin told Russian television on Tuesday that the partial mobilisation was ordered to defend Russia against the West that wanted to weaken, divide and destroy it. Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said the military would draft 300,000 reservists.
This mobilisation covers more than one million soldiers, with far-reaching consequences, Zeman said. A change in the leadership in Russia is possible, and either the military or business might play a role in it, he added.
“However, the military has presented its vast incompetence, so it will not be an initiator of any change, and the business possibilities are limited by sanctions, not to mention the confiscation of yachts. If political changes occurred, I would see them as a pressure of the economic circles,” he said.