Effect of the Russian-Ukrainian War on the Czech Republic – The Triangle

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Photo credits: Jordan Hubbard

Written by Jordan Hubbard, Editor-in-Chief

Prague, Czech Republic – The Russian-Ukrainian war has been a popular topic around the world since the February 24, 2022 invasion. The media has tended to focus only on the effects on Russia and Ukraine, but the war also affected the Czech Republic. Republic.

This summer, I had the privilege of visiting the Czech Republic, specifically Prague and Olomouc. I had the chance to do two internships in this beautiful country and to meet so many great people. I saw the effects of the war in person. There were Ukrainian flags hanging everywhere and many Czechs with personal stories.

The Czech Republic is approximately 710 miles from the Ukrainian border. Ukraine and the Czech Republic are former Soviet states, which makes people in the Czech Republic very nervous about what this means for their country.

“When Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, I was scared, as were many of my relatives and friends. We were afraid of what was going to happen. If Russia succeeded in conquering Ukraine, the army would probably not stop and continue invading other European countries west of Ukraine,” said Palacký University student Matĕj Šerák from Olomouc.

The Czechs I spoke to say the invasion has a different meaning in Central Europe than it does here in the United States. As a former Soviet state, the Czechs are afraid of facing an invasion in their own country.

The Czechs believe there is little NATO countries can do to help without getting involved in the war themselves. They recognize that there is not much that can be done without starting another world war.

“I was speechless the first day. It was Thursday morning and this news was the first thing I saw. I sat in silence and thought about what that means. For older generations, it was a reminder of August 21, 1968, when the Warsaw Alliance came here with tanks. I shouldn’t have been so shocked because the professionals warned Europe it was coming, but most people didn’t think Putin would actually do it,” said Lenka Nosková, a Czech English teacher.

Due to the war, many Ukrainians immigrated to neighboring countries, such as Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic. These Ukrainians did not know what they were going to do once they arrived in another country.

“Even before the war, many Ukrainians worked here, so it’s no wonder that many of their family members also immigrated here when the war started. I remember going to the train station and seeing many Ukrainians sitting there waiting to get their temporary accommodation, usually in tent cities, gymnasiums or spare hotel rooms,” said Luděk Žihlo, student at the Palacký University of Olomouc.

Tents set up in Prague train station to help Ukrainians Photo credits: Luděk Žihlo

The Czechs took in Ukrainians and tried to help them adapt and lead “normal” lives, but there was not much they could do. The Czechs offered housing, education, food and things like that, but they couldn’t undo the trauma suffered by the refugees. Some Czechs have gone out of their way to help Ukrainian children get involved in school and activities so they can have some stability in their lives.

Although the war between Russia and Ukraine may be sidelined in the lives of many Americans, it is still a very real event happening five thousand miles away. We may not be able to fully grasp the depth of this conflict and how catastrophic it is, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t affect millions of people around the world.

Jordan Hubbard is a sophomore with a major in communications and a minor in business. She is from Soddy-Daisy, Tennessee and enjoys reading, writing and hiking.

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