April 13. 2024. 7:01

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Strengthening of NATO eastern flank to be announced in Vilnius, says Czech minister

The announcement on further strengthening of NATO’s eastern flank is expected to happen at the Vilnius summit in July, according to Czech Defence Minister Jana Černochová (ODS, ECR).

Such a move would have occurred even without Russia’s decision to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, according to Černochová. However, the recent developments and announcements “reinforce what the alliance is already planning.”

“Regardless of the strong words of the Russian Federation and Belarus in recent weeks, the eastern flank will still be strengthened,” Černochová told Czech Television on Sunday.

“At the summit in Vilnius, which will be held in two months, there will be a clear announcement of how this will be done and in what numbers,” she added.

Černochová is also convinced that the end of the war in Ukraine is crucial, regardless of who negotiates the peace deal between Moscow and Kyiv.

The minister would not mind China negotiating the deal. “It does not matter whether the moderator is the West or countries that may be close to Russia,” she said.

“The whole world must do everything possible to end these horrors as soon as possible. If there is someone who can do that, I applaud him. I will not care if it is China,” she added.

She also stressed that the result of peace talks would have to be Ukraine with its entire territory, without losing the occupied areas to Russia.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez last week called on Chinese President Xi Jinping to hold talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

On the other hand, EU diplomacy chief Josep Borrell has said that China cannot mediate peace talks because it does not distinguish between the aggressor and the invaded. However, Borrell said on Friday (31 March), China could play the role of facilitator.

(Aneta Zachová | EURACTIV.cz)