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Czech Republic allows citizen to fight for Ukraine with impunity — Analysis

President Zeman granted 103 volunteers a special waiver to join Kiev’s military

According to his office, President Milos Zeman gave 103 Czech Republic citizens a special exemption that allowed them to join Ukraine’s military. According to officials, around 400 volunteers sought a waiver in order to help Ukraine defeat Russia.

Czechs require special authorization from the president or prime minister in order to be allowed to join a foreign army force. They could face criminal prosecution and a possible five-year sentence. Some Czech citizens may be fighting in Ukraine, according to local media.

This week’s exceptions to criminal liability, signed by the President this week, were part of an accord reached in March with Prime Minister Petr Filia. Zeman opposed the permission of volunteers to become Ukrainian soldiers at that time. On Wednesday, Zeman’s spokesperson stated that he supported any form of support to Ukraine.

The defense ministry reviews each case individually in cooperation with the interior ministry and the foreign ministry before forwarding the paperwork to the president’s office for approval. It said that the 103 requests represent about 25% of total request. The prime minister’s office said Fiala will countersign on them.

Russia launched an offensive against Ukraine in late February, following Kiev’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. French- and German-brokered protocols were intended to provide special status for the Ukrainian states that break away from the state.

In recent years, the Kremlin demands that Ukraine declares itself as a neutral state and that it will not join NATO. Kiev maintains that Russia’s offensive was not provoked and denies claims it planned to seize the two republics.

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