Petr Pavel, the newly elected president of the Czech Republic, announced on March 3 that he intends to visit Ukraine in April as part of his travel schedule for his first 100 days in office. Normally devoted to an administration’s top priorities, the first 100 days of Pavel’s term, which began on March 9, will send a strong message to Czechs and the rest of Europe regarding the nation’s commitments to its neighbors and political goals. Evidently, Pavel intends to display an even stronger resolve to defend Ukraine against Russia’s invasion, reaffirming Czechia’s connections to the West yet maintaining a differing response to other regional neighbors like Hungary, which still grasps its ties to Russia amidst growing tensions with Ukraine and the EU.
Pavel’s visit to Ukraine would follow those of various Western leaders, most prominently President Biden or Zuzana Čaputová. The Czech prime minister Petr Fiala visited Kiev less than a month into the war with the Slovenian and Polish prime ministers, in a clear sign of Central European support. Pavel would differ, however, from other Central European neighbor – Hungary’s prime minister Viktor Orbán.