Close to 200,000 people visited the two-day NATO Days and Czech Airforce
Days military show at the Mošnov airfield near Ostrava over the weekend.
The highlight of the event was a historical flypast commemorating 100 years of Czechoslovakia to the sound of Vltava from Bedrich Smetana’s cycle of symphonic poems My Country.
The highly popular event offered visitors an air show in which military pilots from NATO member states performed various air stunts, a display of veteran planes as well as modern fighter jets used by the army and a demonstration of ground forces in crisis situations by NATO allies.
The event’s main partner this year was the United States.
Tens of thousands of people attended the opening day of the NATO Days and
Czech Airforce Days military show at the Mošnov airfield near Ostrava on
The event`s main partner this year was the United States, which presented its pilots and military technology at Mošnov for the first time this year.
The biggest attraction was an air show in which military pilots performed various air stunts.
The event, which is one of the largest military air shows in Europe, also celebrated 100 years of the Czechoslovak air force. On display are veteran planes as well as modern fighter jets used by the army.
Czech soldiers serving in NATO’s Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan
will no longer be in the front line of patrols, deputy head of the Joint
Operation Centre Štefan Muránský told the daily Pravo.
The NATO command centre changed its strategy after three Czech soldiers were killed by a suicide bomber while patrolling an area near Bagram Military Base in August. In future patrols will be led Afghan soldiers who will be covered by NATO troops.
President Miloš Zeman has defended Czech participation in NATO's
Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan.
In an address to Czech ambassadors, who are assembled in Prague for their annual consultations, President Zeman said that Czech soldiers in Kabul were fighting for Prague, and their presence there was vital for the country’s national interests.He said Afghanistan was the most important foreign mission in which Czech soldiers were currently taking part.
The words came in reaction to criticism of Czech participation in the Afghan mission from some Czech parties and suggestions that the Czech Republic should withdraw its troops.
President Zeman also addressed the issue of sanctions against Russia arguing that they should not be extended in the European Council without proper debate on the issue.
Former Czechoslovak Prime Minister Antonín Švehla will be posthumously
awarded the Order of the White Lion, the highest distinction given by the
Czech state, on October 28, the 100th anniversary of the independence of
President Miloš Zeman announced the award would be given to Švehla during his visit to an international agricultural fair in České Budějovice. He said on he wanted to pay tribute to a politician who, in his day, supported farmers. Švehla had been head of the Agrarian Party and led three governments between 1922 and 1926.
At the centennial celebrations, Zeman is also expected to award two-time Olympic champion Ester Ledecká, former Energy Regulatory Authority director Alena Vitásková, and, also posthumously, three Czech soldiers killed by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan earlier this month: Sergeant Martin Marcin, and Corporals Kamil Beneš and Patrik Štěpánek.
The remains of the three Czech soldiers killed in a suicide bombing in
Afghanistan have been flown back to the Czech Republic where they have been
hailed as national heroes.
A special ceremony at Prague’s Václav Havel Airport was attended by President Miloš Zeman who is head of the Czech Armed Forces, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš, Defence Ministry officials, family and friends. Hundreds of people turned out to pay their last respects.
The three servicemen have been posthumously promoted to the rank of officer and will be buried with military honours. President Milos Zeman will award them with medals of bravery on October 28th, the country’s national holiday.
To date 9,000 Czech soldiers have served in Afghanistan. Thirteen of them were killed. The deadliest attack, in 2014, claimed five lives.
The Czech soldiers killed on Sunday had been patrolling an area about near Bagram Air Base, the largest U.S. base in Afghanistan.
The recent incident in Afghanistan, which claimed the lives of three Czech soldiers stationed in the country as part of NATO’s mission, has opened up several questions, including how the Czech Republic cares for its modern-day war veterans and whether it does enough to help them re-integrate into society once they have left the army.
People are sending money in aid of the families of the three soldiers
killed in Afghanistan on Sunday. According to the head of the Military
Solidarity Fund, Lenka Šmerdová, news of the soldiers deaths sparked a
strong wave of solidarity with thousands of people sending money to a
special account. Over 1.2 million crowns has been collected so far.
People’s hearts have gone out in particular to the young widow of Corporal Kamil Beneš who gave birth to their first child – a son – just a week after her husband left on his mission. He never got to see his three months old baby.
The Defence Ministry is also providing for the families.
The three Czech soldiers killed by a suicide bomber in Afghanistan on
Sunday will be buried with military honours, Defence Ministry spokesman Jan
Pejšek said on Monday.
Sirens will sound nationwide in their memory at midday on Wednesday, the day on which their remains will be brought home on a special army plane.
President Miloš Zeman, the head of the Czech Armed forces, and leading political representatives will be present at the ceremony at the airport.
Since 2002 more than 9,000 Czech soldiers have served in Afghanistan. Thirteen of them were killed.