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RFE/RL: Prague activists rally for EU military aid to Ukraine in symbolic performance

The demonstration was held in Old Town Square to support Estonia’s proposal to allocate at least 0.25% of each EU member state’s GDP to held Ukraine in its struggle against Russian occupiers.
Several dozens of Ukrainians formed a human chain across the Vltava River in Prague on 20 January 2019. Photo: Facebook/UkraineEmbassyinCzechia
RFE/RL: Prague activists rally for EU military aid to Ukraine in symbolic performance

On 21 April, in the Czech capital, activists staged a performance supporting the EU’s military assistance plan for Ukraine developed by the Estonian Defense Ministry, according to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

A co-organizer of the performance, Michal Maizner, explained at the event held on Old Town Square in Prague it aimed to back Estonia’s proposal to allocate at least 0.25% of GDP from each EU member state to support Ukraine. He said these funds should be sufficient to force Russia to abandon the war, as in such a case, “it will not be able to sustain it financially.”

“The Estonian Ministry of Defense presented its plan in December or January, which entails each country contributing a quarter of a percent of its GDP, a relatively modest sum. In financial terms, this amounts to 120 billion euros. However, our financial capacity is substantial.

They suggest that if it’s difficult to allocate such funds from the budget, countries can turn to financial markets, as, unlike Russia, we have unrestricted access to them. We are financially robust. Therefore, it’s disheartening to witness Ukraine, which is defending Europe, lacking the resources it needs. They are facing financial constraints.

Thus, the issue lies not in reserves but in financing,” explained Maizner.

During the performance, activists unfurled a Ukrainian flag, symbolically “attacking” a vehicle bearing the image of the “Z-monster,” representing the aggressive Russian regime and its military, which initiated the invasion of Ukraine and likely perpetrated mass war crimes against both Ukrainian military personnel and civilians. Towards the end, a banner with the message “Estonian plan 0.25 GDP will stop Russia” triumphed over the “Z-monster.”

“Today, on 21 April, we gathered at Old Town Square. This initiative was led by Czech activists, and we joined them.

Our display featured a model of Russia—a grotesque creature with shattered buildings in its mouth, representing the ongoing bombardment by Russian forces, which continues to devastate civilian areas. Alongside the European Union flag, we showcased the ‘Estonian plan,’ symbolizing hope to drive away this monster from Ukraine, enabling the country’s reconstruction and resilience,” said Anastasia Signaevska, the leader of the “Voice of Ukraine” initiative.

The demonstration in Prague took place against the backdrop of the adoption of a $61 billion aid package for Ukraine in the US House of Representatives.

The demonstration in Prague coincided with the approval of a $61 billion aid package for Ukraine in the US House of Representatives.

Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee said that more than a third of that amount would be dedicated to replenishing weapons and ammunition systems for the US military. More than a third of these funds will actually remain in the US, as they will be spent on replenishing the US weapons and supplies that have been transferred to Ukraine.

The rest of the funds provided by the bill will be distributed to purchase advanced weapons systems, defense products, and defense services for Ukraine, spent on ongoing US military operations in Europe, and used to continue oversight and accountability of the assistance provided to Ukraine.

On 20 April, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy expressed his gratitude to the US House of Representatives for the decision to provide military aid to Ukraine. World leaders mirrored Ukraine’s gratitude to the US, with some suggesting that months of delays could have been avoided.

“Ukraine is using the weapons provided by NATO Allies to destroy Russian combat capabilities. This makes us all safer in Europe and North America,” said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

Additionally, UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron claimed that with Western support, Ukraine can and will win.

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