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Minister Lipavský visits Kiev

Support for Ukraine’s entry into the EU and plan to ensure independence from Russian energy

Last week Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský travelled to Kiev and met with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.  He also held talks with his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba and senior Ukrainian officials. Lipavský travelled to Kiev together with his Austrian colleague Alexander Schallenberg.
The purpose of the visit was to highlight the EU’s continued support for Ukraine in the Russian-led war and to ascertain the country’s needs at the present time. Efforts to isolate the Czech Republic and Europe more generally from Russian energy were also discussed.

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked both Austria and the Czech Republic for supporting the decision to grant Ukraine EU candidate status in June, and also expressed confidence that Ukraine will meet all the necessary requirements to fully join the EU. “It is a strong support. I would really like to open a new page in the life of Ukraine as a full member of the European Union and this new page is the beginning of a dialogue on EU membership. We have a lot of work to do on the important things that the European Society, the European Council and the European Commission advise us to do,’ he said. President Zelenskyy also took the opportunity to thank Austria and the Czech Republic for supporting and helping Ukraine during the large-scale Russian invasion.
As stated by Lipavský, the Czech Republic is determined to support Ukraine in its EU integration process; the Czech minister also emphasised that he wanted to take advantage of the Czech Republic’s six-month presidency in the EU to bring up the issue of Ukraine’s post-war reconstruction: ‘I work hard every day to convince our partners that they should help Ukraine as much as possible,’ Lipavský said.  Ukrainian Foreign Minister Kuleba also emphasised that supporting Ukraine is not charity, but rather a pragmatic decision that Ukraine’s victory is in the interest of all European countries.
According to Lipavský, Czechia and Ukraine have started negotiations on a joint memorandum, which should include all bilateral activities and cooperation of the two countries to date.

Regarding the issue of dependence on Russian energy, according to Lipavský, ‘it is possible but it will not be easy and it will be necessary to work on it, and this is something that the EU and our government are doing intensively,’ he emphasised; he added: ‘We are working intensively on increasing the capacity of the Transalpine gas pipeline TAL, which is already at an advanced stage. As a result, we will be able to receive oil from the Italian port of Trieste. Afterwards, the oil will flow through Austria and Germany to the Czech Republic. It is necessary for our refineries to convert from Russian oil to oil that will flow through the TAL, which is a feasible technology transfer.”
The Czech minister also stated that intensive work is being done to secure supplies from countries that have already adopted alternative energy sources, such as Norway: the key will therefore be how the Czech Republic can cope with the transition to renewable energy sources.

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