Prague, Nov 29 – The Chamber of Deputies today nodded to Ukrainian soldiers‘ stay in Czechia for the purpose of training and to sending up to 55 Czech soldiers to train Ukrainians elsewhere in the EU, and also approved the mandate for further foreign missions to Kosovo and Iraq. The government proposal still needs the approval from the Senate, the upper house of parliament, which is to take vote on it on Thursday.
According to previous information from the lower house defence committee, the training of Ukrainian soldiers will take place in the Libava military grounds, north Moravia, and involve mechanised units and special professions. Five four-week training courses are to take place by the end of next year, each course involving up to 800 Ukrainian troops.
The plan is based on an agreement between the Czech and Ukrainian governments. In the future, the training in Czechia is to be moved under the EU assistance mission, with the EU returning to Czechia a part of the estimated costs of 975 million crowns.
The training of Ukrainian soldiers will mean new experience for the Czech military as well, Defence Minister Jana Cernochova (Civic Democrats, ODS) told the deputies, adding that the Czechs will gain information on the operational methods of the two sides to the war conflict in Ukraine and on how the Russians fight and what their weak and strong sides are.
Everything will be checked by the Military Intelligence Service (VZ) and the Military Police will also be present in the training area, Cernochova said.
In the lower house debate, the plan was criticised by MPs from the junior opposition Freedom and Democracy (SPD) movement. „The current cabinet’s priority is the support for Ukraine and Ukrainians, continuation of the war conflict,“ said SPD MP Radovan Vich.
The SPD deputies were the only to vote against the government proposal.
Based on it, Czechia will be able to send up to 55 soldiers to the EU assistance mission. They can operate in any EU states in command structures or as instructors.
According to the document accompanying the proposal discussed today, the EU plans the training for the next two years, mainly in Poland and Germany. Step-by-step, with regard to the needs of the Ukrainian armed forces and the Allies‘ capacities, the mission might be extended also to take place in other EU states.
„Main emphasis will be put on the training of new or mobilised Ukrainian soldiers, the operation of weapons systems, on planning processes, i.e. all activities that are necessary to secure successful fight against the Russian aggressor,“ the document says.
By nodding to the proposal, the Chamber of Deputies also approved an extension of the Czech participation in the NATO mission to Iraq, which may be joined by up to 20 Czech troops in 2023 and 2024. Czechs are part of the mission at present.
A new mandate approved by the lower house today enables to send up to 40 military police to Kosovo to join an Italian carabinieri unit from July 2023 to the end of 2024.