Russia’s war on Ukraine, like the terrorist attacks of September 2001, has been a turning point for the world, Prime Minister Petr Fiala told the Forum 2000 conference’s opening ceremony in Prague on Wednesday.
This period will forever be associated with late Czech president Václav Havel, who co-founded the Forum 2000 conference, said Fiala.
He added that Russia’s attack had renewed the alliance of Western democracies, with NATO and the EU expanding and becoming stronger, as a result, the Czech News Agency reported.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy joined the conference via video call.
The Ukrainian president recalled the events of the Prague Spring and their violent suppression by the Warsaw Pact armies in August 1968, noting the West’s insufficient reaction at the time meant opporrtunities to liberate the Soviet bloc countries were squandered.
Czechs recently commemorated the anniversary of the Soviet invasion by sending 1,968 Czech crowns to Ukraine in a symbolic gesture.
During the speech, the president said that Ukraine still needs support from the West in its fight for freedom in the form of weapons, ammunition, money, and additional pressure on Russia.
He proposed introducing more sanctions packages covering energy and finance, adding a special war crimes tribunal should also be established, and the EU should ban Russian propaganda media.
As he spoke, EU foreign ministers were in Prague discussing a potential visa ban for Russian citizens but ultimately decided only to suspend the visa facilitation agreement.
The 26th edition of the Forum 2000 international conference, which focuses on threats to democracy and the response to them, started in Prague on Wednesday.