Ukraine deserves to join Nato, say Czechs

February 1, 2023 - Reading time: 4 minutes

According to Petr Pavel, the incoming president of the Czech Republic, Ukraine should be permitted to join NATO “as soon as the war is ​over.

General Pavel, a veteran Nato official, predicted that after the war, Ukraine will be “morally and practically ready” to join the Western alliance.

Gen. Pavel made a forceful defence of Western military assistance to Kyiv in his first public interview with the international media since his election, saying there should be “absolutely no boundaries” to what countri​​es should contribute.

He claimed sending Western fighter planes like F-16s was “not taboo” in his opinion, but he wasn’t sure they could be delivered in time to be useful to Kyiv while speaking from the Renaissance Hrzansky Palace, a few hundred metres from Prague Castle.

Despite Emmanuel Macron of France’s assertion that nothing is off limits, US President Joe Biden has disqualified the US from supplying F-16s this week.

He said: “I am delighted that my country was one of the first to offer Ukraine major military assistance.”

The Czech Republic was the first Western nation to deploy T72 and BMP1 infantry fighting vehicles to Kyiv as part of a wave of heavy armament shipments that are said to have started as early as March 2022.

After considerable soul-searching and agonising, nations like the UK, the US, and Germany have started responding to Kyiv’s repeated requests to deploy contemporary, Western-made tanks like Leopard 2s, Challenger 2s, and M1 Abrams.

“I doubt many people could conceive that Western nations would be willing to give Ukraine contemporary main battle tanks, long-range artillery, or anti-aircraft weapons. Now that was reality,” he said.

“But at the same time we know it’s still not enough to match Russia’s substantial manpower and material resources” he added.

He acknowledged Kyiv’s dissatisfaction with the pace of supplies, particularly with regard to Western tanks, which were specifically created to rip real and figurative holes through Soviet armoured formations.

Ukraine claims the West has so far committed to sending at least 120 of these tanks, of which 300 have been requested. However, Gen. Pavel expressed his expectation that the pace would quicken, particularly if Russia begins its anticipated spring onslaught.

The president-elect dismissed the notion that such delivery may be viewed as an “escalation,” which has long been maintained in several European cities, particularly Berlin.

Russia has issued a warning that rising Western military supply will cause Nato nations to get more directly involved in the conflict.

We have no other option, he declared. “Ukraine would probably lose this war if we left them on their own. We all lose if they lose.”

President-elect Pavel also stated that he and other European leaders had a responsibility to convey the benefits of aiding Ukraine to their sceptical – and frequently terrified – populaces.

“Russian artillery and missiles are not destroying our cities. But if we don’t help Ukraine bring this struggle to a successful conclusion, our future may be wrecked.”

He also denied accusations that he was blocking diplomacy, including those made by Andrej Babis, the former prime minister who ran against him this past weekend.

“Let’s support peace negotiations as soon as there is even a remote likelihood of them. However, there are no indications of it on the part of Russia,” said Mr. Pavel, who was frequently depicted during the campaign as a warrior.

“The end of the conflict is fully in Russian hands, it must be stressed. If President Putin were to remove his forces from Ukraine, it would only take one decision to end the conflict.”

He also ​said ​that after it was finished, Ukraine will clearly have a place in Nato.

“The military of Ukraine will likely have the most experience in Europe. Ukraine is deserving of membership in a group of democratic nations.”

Darren Stephenson

Darren Stephenson writing spans a wide range of topics, from in-depth political analysis to human interest stories. His unique perspective and engaging narrative style have earned him a loyal readership. Darren's commitment to journalistic integrity and his ability to connect with readers make him a standout voice in modern journalism.