He argues that currently Western politicians benefit more from these trips than Ukrainians themselves. ANO chief Andrej Babiš stayed on for the visit. Both men could face next year’s presidential election.
“I have videos of the site that I don’t even know if I can post on Twitter. It’s scary. When you see it with your own eyes, then no one can tell that it was an amateur association brought on site only when you get there,” says Vystrčil in an interview with the News List.
The President of the Senate visited kyiv and its suburbs, which were occupied by Russian soldiers for several weeks.
Your background is criticized that in this situation it is more about PR politicians than about Ukraine. What gives meaning to your trip?
What matters is what I saw and heard with my own eyes. Those who haven’t been there and who are content to explain how pointless it is to go there, I advise them: “Go see there, afterwards you may have a different opinion on what is important and what is not. These visits are also important because if someone wants to pretend that everything is different, then I am an eyewitness, a constitutional official who will say, “Then it is not different.
How do Ukrainians react to the visit?
Ukrainians, politicians and citizens, need this support. It is within the capacities of a functioning country, they have a parliament, a president, other institutions… and we communicate with them, among other things, by going there. If we don’t, they will feel hurt. And they need support, not bad.
It probably bothers the Russians that the authorities of Western countries bring eyewitness accounts. After the sinking of the cruiser Moscow, they threaten to bomb the railway line, just to prevent these visits as well.
Yes, the Russians don’t care. It also shows that we consider Ukraine as an independent and free country, which they do not want. They want to conquer it and destroy it. I said in my speech that I never thought I would understand what happened in Lidice and Ležáky. We have seen it in Ukraine. It’s incredible. I have videos from the site that I don’t even know if I can put them on twitter. It’s scary. When you see it with your own eyes, then no one can tell that it was an amateur association brought to the scene when you arrived.
So, what testimony do you draw from kyiv?
I took a lot of things from kyiv, but I was also in Borodjan, Buchi and Irpini. We were accompanied to these places by the Speaker of the Ukrainian Parliament, Ruslan Stefanchuk, we spoke with the mayor, with the local fire chiefs, etc. And the eyewitnesses and the audible testimonies that we heard were absolutely appalling. In Borodjana, we saw the Russians bombard a housing estate with a civilian population where there was no military garrison. They destroyed the streets, the water pipes, shot people who appeared in the streets. How women and children shot.
You were also in Buč, a symbol of war crimes against civilians.
Then we were in Buč, where we saw a mass grave with people tied up and shot from behind. The bodies were recovered by French forensic troops, who document Russian war crimes there. It was absolutely appalling, there it was seen, heard and felt. We spoke to the mayor, who said people had been shot there for no reason. Then we were in Irpini, where they described the Russians breaking into an apartment, picking up a refrigerator, tearing everything down, drinking everything, dragging a fifteen-year-old girl and bringing her back in two hours.
Are you talking about giving Ukraine a European perspective, what should that look like? There is talk in Brussels of a possible granting of candidate status to Ukraine.
First and foremost, a peace agreement must be reached. Ukrainians won the right to join the EU in this conflict. By sacrificing their lives. Putin expected him to be in kyiv in three days, and no one knows what this war killer and criminal had in his sick brain, how far he wanted and wants to go. I think it is necessary to give Ukraine a clear prospect of full membership. And you should help them as much as possible.
Can the Czech Republic, with the experience of a post-communist country that has become an EU country, be a kind of guide for Ukraine on this journey?
Today, a large part of Ukrainians are outside their territory. If they are in our countries, they will adapt, so if they come back, they will be the best messengers of European ways of life and functioning. Today, for them, we are a country that they really take. I bring a personal thank you from Kyiv to Prime Minister Fiala and the government for what we are doing for them. This has been clearly said in private and in public. I think cooperation can be. I don’t want to say how, it is crucial that they tell each other what they need.
As confirmed by Prime Minister Petr Fiala, the government wants to organize a summit on Ukraine, even with the participation of President Volodymyr Zelenský, if the situation permits. Did you discuss it in Ukraine?
We also spoke with Mr. Stefančuk and First Vice-President Oleksandr Koněvský, and at the moment I have other information from the Ukrainian side besides thanking you, but I will tell the Prime Minister.