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.
The Czech Republic is on target to meet its Nato commitments – in terms of spending on defence, taking part in foreign missions in deadly hotspots such as Afghanistan, and countering new types of threats, from cyberwarfare to disinformation campaigns. In a wide-ranging interview, Czech Ambassador to Nato Jiří Šedivý takes stock of the many challenges ahead.
Three Czech service members were killed in eastern Afghanistan on Sunday by a suicide bomber while conducting a joint foot patrol with U.S. and local soldiers. Hailed as heroes by Czech military brass and politicians, the soldiers were serving in Nato’s “Resolute Support” mission, a non-combat mission training and advising the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces.
Donald Trump has made headlines this week by calling on America’s NATO allies to increase their defence spending. His words have met with a mixed response here in the Czech Republic, with some acceptance that armaments purchases must be stepped up – but questions surrounding the speed and focus of such spending.
NATO regards a Czech commitment to increase defence spending to 2 percent
of GDP by the year 2024 as credible, according to the Czech ambassador to
the alliance, Jiří Šedivý. In an interview with Czech Television after
US President Donald Trump called on Europe to boost its outlay on its
defence, Mr. Šedivý said the Czech Republic was neither among the best or
the worst as regards weapons purchases.
This was borne out by the fact that it was not among those countries to receive a letter from Mr. Trump calling on them to contribute more to collective defence, the Czech official said.
The Czech Republic will not change its plans regarding defence spending
following a NATO summit in Brussels, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš said on
Thursday. The Prague government will therefore continue increasing defence
spending with a view to reaching the equivalent of 2 percent of gross
domestic product by the year 2024.
U.S. President Donald Trump had pushed for accelerated spending on weapons at the two-day summit. Mr. Babiš said he had told Mr. Trump that it was important to speak about absolute expenditures on armaments.
The acting Czech minister of foreign affairs, Jan Hamáček, who was also at the summit, said attention should be paid to Mr. Trump’s arguments regarding the amount the U.S. was spending on Europe’s defence.
Experts from Europe and the US met in Prague this week to discuss the hybrid war threat and ways of countering disinformation campaigns against Western countries. In an interview for Czech Radio the head of NATO’s Military Committee, General Petr Pavel, said the Czech Republic underestimates the dangers of the hybrid war waged by Russia.
Leading members of the right-wing opposition have criticised prime minister
in resignation Andrej Babiš, alleging he was flip-flopping or
backpedalling on the strike against Syria by US, British and French forces.
On Saturday, the prime minister said the strike had been inevitable but a day later, after a meeting with the president, he suggested that the strike had resolved nothing.
During a work visit to the region of Karlovy Vary on Monday, he then called the threat of additional strikes a deterrent against the use of chemical weapons.
The apparent changes in his stance drew fire from long-time political rival Miroslav Kalousek of TOP 09, who suggested he could respect someone with a differing but firm position but not a politician who - in his view - changed his mind one day to the next.