The biggest security threat to the Czech Republic is Russia and its hybrid war. An Army General and former Chief of Staff Jiří Šedivý said in the CT24 Interview . According to him, the first phase is an attempt to destabilize the company, for example, by spreading false news and making people sick – as the Czech Republic has already known. In defending new threats, he says the country is learning.
“The greatest danger for us is the threat that comes from Russia and the sometimes unpredictable steps Russia is doing. I would recall the recent West 2017 exercises , where the Russians and Belarusians were, and which was also presented by Russia in a rather peculiar way that there would be probably less than twenty thousand soldiers. And we all knew there would be almost a hundred thousand soldiers, “says Gray.
Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, Petr Pavel last November said that the Czech Republic relativises the Russian threat. Gray agrees and reminds us that Russia has been hit hard in the Czech Republic ten years ago.
“Russia has already shown us in 2008, when it quite fairly changed theCzech public’s view of the US radar. More than 70 percent of our citizens understood US soldiers as foreign soldiers and not as allies, “he says.
A higher risk, for example, is threatened, for example, by the Baltic countries, where there are numerous Russian minorities. However, the possible conflict would also affect the Czech Republic. “If armed attempts were to be made to important territories, objects and the like, the Czech Republic must be prepared to intervene in accordance with Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty for the benefit of our allies. If we have – and now we have – soldiers in the Baltics, then they would be in physical contact with the Russian soldiers. ”
We learn to defend against new threats
To defend against new threats, the Gray Czech Republic is only getting used to it. “We are learning and starting to discover the methods that are being used by the Russian adversary, if we can call it that. The first step is that we have demonstrated our determination whenever and wherever the Russians have attempted a step like the destabilization of the eastern part of Ukraine or the annexation of the Crimea to intervene in favor of our alliance partners, “he says.
An example is battalions that are symbolically located in individual states in the east of the North Atlantic Alliance.
The Czech Republic has already taken a number of measures against cyber threats. Last summer, for example, a new National Office for Cybernetics and Information Security was established. “A number of cyber-attacks were probably conducted from the territory of Russia, Estonia is a typical example,” Gray recalls one of the most serious cases.
In Estonia several years ago, attacks for many days paralyzed government and business sites. And after the Estonians decided to remove the controversial memorial of the Red Army from their metropolis against which Russia unsuccessfully protested. NATO was also involved in the investigation, many of which led to Russia.
“The Russians are really, masters,” which is, of course, a problem, and it would be good if we were masters. The debate in the United States, whether Russia has influenced presidential elections, debates about Western radical support, whether the Russians have intervened in any way, whether they are capable of influencing different social networks, and transmitting information that is fake or fictitious . There the Russians are ahead of us and we still have to find a way to eliminate such attacks, “he says.
“Russia does not give up Central Europe, China has made us a door to Europe”
The Security Intelligence Service said last year that Russia and the Chinese secret services are the biggest risk in the Czech Republic. “It’s always about getting information, secondly influencing society, and thirdly altering allied relationships,” explains Gray.
“The fact is that the Russians are convinced that Central Europe is their domain they lost after 1989 and after the collapse of the Soviet Union. But they still tend not only to influence the Czech Republic, but also to Slovakia, Hungary and Poland, although the situation is a bit different. Central Europe is a goal they will not want to give up, “he says.
China’s motivation is a bit different. “The Chinese made the door to Europe from the Czech Republic. And we will see how we can use the open arms we have given them, even for our benefit. Because it looks like the way is only one way, “adds Army General and former Chief of Staff Jiří Šedivý.