Press Advisories

22. 2. 202321:14

B9 leaders and President Biden agree to strengthen protection of NATO's eastern flank

On 22 February 2023, Prime Minister Petr Fiala attended a meeting of the Bucharest Nine countries with US President Joe Biden in Warsaw. The leaders agreed to strengthen protection and capabilities to deter the enemy on the Alliance's eastern border. They also reaffirmed their commitment to continue to support Ukraine for as long as necessary. Prime Minister Fiala also met his Polish counterpart Mateusz Morawiecki, with whom he discussed energy security, transport infrastructure, and strategic cooperation between the two countries.

"The meeting of the B9 countries with US President Joe Biden, which took place on the eve of the anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, showed the unity of the allies and a strong commitment to further assistance to Ukraine. Its main theme was the security of Europe, with an emphasis on the security of the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. President Biden and everyone else reaffirmed a clear commitment to defend every inch of NATO member nations' soil if necessary,“ stated Prime Minister Fiala.

In the adopted declaration the leaders agreed among others on strengthening Alliance defence in the east. The Czech Republic is currently contributing to battle groups in Lithuania and Latvia and last year took a leading role in the newly established multinational battle group in Slovakia, which currently includes units from Germany, the USA and Slovenia.

At the meeting there was clear support for Ukraine, which is fighting not only for itself, but for the security of the entire  Europe and especially the B9 countries. ‘‘The next weeks and months could be crucial. Ukraine needs military, financial and humanitarian assistance to repel the ongoing barbaric attack. Since the beginning of the Russian invasion, the Czech Republic has been one of the largest donors and suppliers of military aid to Ukraine. We were the first ever to supply Ukraine with helicopters, tanks, howitzers, rocket launchers and infantry fighting vehicles. This help motivated others and gave Ukraine the weapons it needed to defend itself,“ added the Czech Prime Minister. He also stressed that the Czech Republic's ambition is to train roughly 4,000 Ukrainian soldiers in our territory by the end of this year. The second training cycle is now underway and will end at the end of February.

On the sidelines of the summit, Prime Minister Fiala also met with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki. The two leaders agreed on continued cooperation in all key cross-border cooperation projects, including energy and transport infrastructure. "We agreed that we need to work urgently on the completion of the D11, which will be a key land transport link between the two countries. We remain interested in capacity at the planned LNG terminals on the Baltic Sea coast,“ said Prime Minister Fiala after the meeting. At the end of the meeting, Prime Minister Morawiecki announced his interest in holding intergovernmental consultations in Poland in the first half of this year.