“The priority of the new mandate is to strengthen NATO’s eastern border,” Defense Minister Jana Černochová from the ODS told MPs.
The mission plan is significantly influenced by Russian aggression towards Ukraine, therefore the government plan also envisages the allocation of 20 soldiers “to protect the diplomatic interests of the Czech Republic in Ukraine, who will be able to leave immediately after the approval of the mandate and will protect the embassy in Kyiv.
“What is our work in the Baltic states supposed to bring us?” asked MP Radovan Vích of the opposition SPD.
KDU-ČSL deputy Jiří Horák responded that there are strong Russian minorities in the Baltic states. “Even there they are afraid that the green men will come,” said deputy Horák in response to Vích from the SPD, alluding to the Russian soldiers.
Military missions were supported by 141 of the 157 MPs present. All government parties and also the ANO movement were in favor, only the SPD was against.
In total, up to 1,362 soldiers could serve in foreign missions in 2023 and 2024. Current missions are valid until the end of this year. The costs of the missions are supposed to amount to approximately 1.4 billion crowns annually. The Senate already agreed to the plan in August.
The plan of military missions also provides for the possibility of a short-term stay of soldiers from other NATO countries on Czech territory in the number of up to 800 people. It does not mean a mandate for their permanent operation or the establishment of a base on Czech territory.