Half of Czechs say they fear war may hit country

Conflict in Ukraine has people on edge; more than one-third say conscription should be reinstated

Prague, Aug. 11 (ČTK) — Nearly half of Czech citizens (46 percent) say they fear some of the present armed conflicts might escalate and threaten their country, and they consider the fighting in eastern Ukraine the biggest risk to the Czech Republic, according to a poll by the Median agency released today.

“The fear of a broader international conflict that would afflict also the Czech Republic to a great extent stems from the fear of the conflict in eastern Ukraine, in which NATO and Russia are involved, minimally on the symbolic, rhetoric level,” Median’s Daniel Prokop said.

Only a small part of Czechs are afraid of the Taliban in Afghanistan, radical Islamists in Iraq or of the fighting between Israel and Palestine developing into an international conflict.

The poll also showed 37 percent would like to reinstate compulsory military service for all young men.

Support for conscription is higher among people aged over 60, and women favor it more than men.

“Many men have negative experience with [compulsory military service], and they feel empathy toward the members of the younger generation and wish them to avoid the one or two years in the army,” Prokop said.

The maintaining of the present state of affairs, in which military service would be a duty for all young men only in time of war or a military threat, was supported by 36 percent.

Twenty-three percent said the duty should be introduced also if there is a lack of professional soldiers in the country.

A bill authorizing the government to reintroduce the military service duty also in time of peace is likely to be submitted to Parliament in the autumn.

This bill is in reaction to the low number of reservists, as a result of which the army would have problems to handle crisis situations.

The poll was carried out in early August among 1,142 respondents.

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