US Defense Minister Lloyd Austin will fly to the Czech Republic on Friday, September 9, the press department of the Ministry of Defense announced. The head of the Pentagon will hold talks with Defense Minister Jana Černochová and Prime Minister Petr Fiala (both ODS) in Prague. The topic will be aid to Ukraine or the current security situation, the ministry said.
According to the office, the meeting will follow up on Černochová’s spring work trip to the USA, during which she discussed, among other things, the modernization of the Czech army. The government recently decided that the Czech Republic will begin negotiations with the United States on the purchase of F-35 fighter jets. The United States also decided to donate eight military helicopters to the Czech army.
“The visit of American Defense Minister Lloyd Austin is clear evidence that the Czech Republic is perceived as a reliable ally with a clear pro-Western orientation,” said Černochová.
The Czechia wants to purchase 24 modern F-35 aircraft from the USA, the costs will be in the higher tens of billions of crowns. Negotiations will begin soon. Earlier, the Ministry of Defense decided to purchase 12 military helicopters, the Americans are donating another eight to the Czech army.
It will replace the Russian Mi-24/35 machines in the armament. According to unofficial information, the Czechia has already sent some of them to Ukraine. Representatives of the United States have already praised the Czechia for its help to Ukraine.
In addition to the modernization of the army, representatives of the ministry are also negotiating with their American counterparts about the DCA (Defense Cooperation Agreement) between the Czech Republic and the United States. The contract is intended to legally ensure the possible presence of American soldiers on Czech territory.
The very deployment of Americans in the Czech Republic will not be possible only on the basis of this agreement, it would have to be approved by the government and subsequently by the parliament, just like at present. So far, 24 member countries of the North Atlantic Alliance, including Slovakia, have concluded a similar document with the United States.
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