Will To Help Ukraine Must Continue – Fiala Says On 1968 Anniversary

Our will to help Ukraine must not desert us,” said Prime Minister Petr Fiala. Photo: Vlada.cz.

Prague, Aug 21 (CTK) – The will to help Ukraine must continue, Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala (Civic Democrats, ODS) said on the occasion of the 54th anniversary of the start of the occupation of the country by Soviet-led Warsaw Pact troops today.

“Fifty-four years later, Russia, with abundant help from Belarus, invaded the territory of independent Ukraine to deprive it of its independence and freedom. Russia has thus unleashed a brutal war not far from us, in which it kills people every day, destroys schools, hospitals and monuments and drives people from their homes. Our will to help Ukraine must not desert us,” Fiala tweeted.

The invasion in August 1968 ended the relaxed atmosphere of the Prague Spring reform period, Fiala noted.

According to opposition movement ANO chairman and former prime minister Andrej Babis, the invasion of 1968 put off the fall of the totalitarian regime in the then Czechoslovakia.

“Czech society was on the road to freedom in 1968 … However, the invasion destroyed all hopes and delayed the fall of the totalitarian regime for another 21 years,” Babis tweeted.

“It is a lesson for us that we must be able to defend ourselves against such threats in the future and that we must not take our security a granted, especially nowadays,” he said.

The imperial tendency of the former Soviet Union and current Russian Federation has not changed, Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Vit Rakusan (STAN) said.

So-called “brotherly help” came to Czechoslovakia in 1968 and now a “special military operation” is taking place not far from the Czech border. “It has one common denominator: to grab something from someone else’s territory, to gain influence, to gain power,” Rakusan said on Facebook.

Chamber of Deputies chairwoman and coalition TOP 09 head Marketa Pekarova Adamova, too, linked the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia with current events in Ukraine.

“The Soviet Union showed us 54 years ago that anything free was alien to it, and Russia is the same today. We must help the Ukrainians to defeat the aggressor,” she tweeted.

The Prague Spring of 1968 would have eventually resulted in a market economy and pluralist democracy. “This is precisely what the ‘Evil Empire’ did not want to allow. Our desire for freedom was punished by tanks. Let us never forget that and let us cherish it,” Chamber of Deputies European Committee head Ondrej Benesik (Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL) said on Twitter.

Opposition far-right Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) leader Tomio Okamura said his movement was against the presence of any foreign troops in Czechia, whether from the West or the East. “We want to be a sovereign free country,” he said in a television discussion programme on CNN Prima News today.

Troops of five Warsaw Pact countries led by the Soviet Union invaded Czechoslovakia on August 21, 1968 to crush the Communist-led reform movement, known as Prague Spring. On the first day of the occupation, 58 people were killed or fatally wounded and the number of fatalities rose to 108 by the end of 1968. As from then Soviet troops permanently stayed at various bases in the country. The last Soviet soldiers were withdrawn from Czechoslovakia in 1991, following the 1989 collapse of the communist regime.


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