Police have charged an 18 year-old suspect with a particularly brutal murder in a village near Litoměřice which took place Friday evening. Police said only that the suspect, allegedly dependent on alcohol and drugs, had killed a senior 80 years of age. If found guilty, the man could receive an extraordinary sentence between 20 to 30 years in prison. Although police refused to release details, TV stations on Saturday reported the killer had used a blunt object - a hammer or other item.
The Czech Foreign Ministry has warned Czech citizens not to travel to
eastern Ukraine and Crimea in light of growing tensions in the area; those
already there have been advised to depart. The crisis in Ukraine escalated
as unidentified Russian forces took full control of Crimea - where
Russia's Black Sea fleet is based - ignoring Ukrainian sovereignty on
the pretense they were there to protect Russian-speakers. In response,
Ukraine called up its reserves and ordered full combat readiness for
troops, raising the stakes in the growing stand-off.
World leaders, including US President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron, have condemned Russian intervention in Crimea as a violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and a breach of international law. But Russia's president, Vladimir Putin, has thus far ignored calls for troops to withdraw to the base in Sevastopol. In a phone call with the US president, he reportedly stressed that Russia would act not only in Crimea but in the east of Ukraine, if necessary, to protect its interests. Mr Obama had issued a warning in a press conference on Friday that there would be costs if Russia continued on its current course.
The Czech Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek met with Russia's ambassador to Prague on Sunday, informing him of the country's position - that military intervention in Ukraine is unacceptable. He appealed to Russia not to use military force to solve matters in Crimea but instead to sit down for negotiations. Mr Zaorálek confirmed he would not be recalling the Czech ambassador to Moscow, suggesting that dialogue was more important. He also indicated he did not think that that the threat of sanctions or embargoes against Moscow was the way forward.
Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, the head of the Social Democrats, has denied there are any so-called godfathers in his party pulling strings from behind the scenes. He made the statement on a Sunday debate programme, in response to the president's comment earlier this week that all parties attracted such figures. Mr Sobotka recently claimed that so-called godfathers, either former Civic Democrats or TOP 09 members, were amassing around ANO - who are Mr Sobotka's partners in the government. ANO leader, Finance Minister Andrej Babiš, denied the accusation and made a similar claim about the Social Democrats.
A six-person team, including members of the police presidium and members of the Moravian-Silesian criminal police, has travelled to Egypt with the aim of boosting cooperation. No formal agreement between police in both countries currently exists. Members of the team, expected to stay in Egypt for roughly a week, will not only meet with their counterparts, but will continue their investigation of a Czech national suspected of having poisoned his wife and daughter on vacation in Egypt last year. The suspect has been remanded in custody in the Czech Republic.
Around three dozen people demonstrated in front of the Russian embassy in
Prague on Saturday, holding up signs and placards calling on Russia to stop
military intervention in Ukraine. Six police officers monitored the
protest; no incidents were reported. One of the demonstrators, a Russian
national, said he had come out to express solidarity with an injured
Ukrainian colleague. He said he was against war and against the occupation
of Ukraine, which he called a tragedy for both countries.
Another demonstration in front of the embassy followed on Sunday, this time attended by several hundred people.
In light of the situation in Ukraine, the Czech National Security Council is due to meet Sunday evening. Members of the council, which includes the foreign, defence, finance and interior ministers, will discuss the developments Ukraine also in connection with the EU and NATO, the prime minister said. Czech energy security will also be reviewed with the head of the Administration of State Material Reserves, Pavel Švagr, attending.
Czech President Miloš Zeman has expressed opposition to Russia intervening
in Ukraine; in a statement issued through his spokesman on Saturday, the
president suggested military intervention would create a gulf that would
take more than a generation to bridge. Mr Zeman was reacting to rising
tensions in Crimea, where Russian forces are stationed or being boosted. He
made clear he could draw on concrete experience, the invasion of former
Czechoslovakia by Soviet-led troops in 1968. On Saturday, President
Vladimir Putin requested - and received - approval from Russia's upper
house to use troops on the peninsula until the 'normalisation' of
the political situation in Ukraine. Mr Putin claimed that such a move was
to protect the Russian-speaking population. Ukraine's new leadership
has called Russia's behaviour an attempt to provoke an armed conflict.
The Czech Foreign Ministry reacted on Saturday by saying that Ukraine's territorial integrity as well as sovereignty needed to remain untouched and intact. The foreign minister, Lubomír Zaorálek, is to meet with Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka to discuss developments on Monday.
The condition of a number of Ukrainian nationals, injured in recent
anti-government demonstrations in Kiev, has improved somewhat, according to
a spokesman. In all, 27 patients are being treated in Czech hospitals. Some
of the demonstrators – who came out against now deposed president Viktor
Yanukovich – had suffered broken shins, or facial injuries such as a
cracked eye socket.
Back in Ukraine, tensions are continuing to rise over the peninsula of Crimea and involvement by Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday asked his country’s upper house to approve the use of troops in Ukraine, allegedly to protect the lives of Russian citizens there. A day earlier, US President Barack Obama warned Russia not to interfere militarily in Ukraine.
Thousands of well-wishers and fans turned out in Žďár nad Sázavou on Saturday to greet champion Martina Sáblíková. The Olympian, who won one gold and one silver at the Winter Olympics in Sochi was greeted with flowers and other gifts, including a cake in the shape of the winners’ podium. At the Winter Games, Sáblíková defended her gold from Vancouver in the 5,000 metres – her favourite competition.
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