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Ryan in Prague denounces Russia for spreading disinformation

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Prague, March 27 (CTK) – U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan denounced Russia for spreading disinformation and trying to undermine the alliance between Prague and the USA, and praised the Czech decision to expel three Russian diplomats as a step of solidarity with London in his speech in Czech parliament on Tuesday.

Ryan, in his speech, thanked the Czech Republic for its role in NATO, and confirmed the U.S. commitment of collective defence within NATO.

He appreciated it that the Czechs keep in operation their embassy in Damascus, which also helps the Americans.

“Russia has violated international norms with its aggression against our closest allies in eastern Europe,” Ryan said, adding that Russia has also been waging cyber attacks and tried to interfere in democratic elections in Europe and the USA.

“Russia does not share our interest or our values. If anything, it is seeking to undermine these values. We must see this for what it is. This is an intent to sow discord among our people, to divide allies and destabilise democratic institutions. We cannot and we will not tolerate this,” Ryan said, referring to the expulsion of Russian diplomats by western countries, including the Czech Republic and USA, “in response to an attack on the British soil,” which was the March 4 poisoning of a former Russian agent in Salisbury.

Thanking the Czech Republic for its activities in NATO, Ryan said “the Czech and the U.S. militaries serve, side by side, to keep the peace in the world.”

He mentioned the deployment of Czech soldiers in U.S.-led missions in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Ryan confirmed that the USA will observe the commitment of collective defence within NATO. It firmly adheres to the Article 5 of the NATO treaty, he said, and also spoke of the agreement based on which all members of NATO should spend 2 percent of GDP on defence.

He voiced pleasure at the Czech Republic having pledged to achieve this limit in future.

At present, the Czech defence spending reaches about 1 percent of GDP.

Ryan thanked Prague for keeping in operation its embassy in Damascus, which has been used by other western countries, including the USA.

He appreciated Czech active participation in the anti-Islamic State coalition.

Islamic State will be defeated, he said and pointed out the necessity for the allies to share information in fighting terrorism.

In his speech, Ryan also emphasised the role of free media for the functioning of free society. He thanked the Czech Republic for hosting the Radio Free Europe (RFE) headquarters and said free people have to promote the freedom of those who seek it but have not achieved it yet.

Referring to Czech-U.S. trade relations, Ryan said he can see opportunities for both parties in this respect.

The USA is proud of ranking among the biggest investors in the Czech Republic, including in the field of modern technologies, he said.

It is necessary to secure economic growth because good living conditions are an important requisite for people to be able to decide on the course of their lives.

Ryan mentioned former Czech president Vaclav Havel and his words in the U.S. Congress in the early 1990s, when he said “we shall never surrender the freedom.”

Ryan said Prague hosts one of the oldest clubs of the owners of the Harley-Davidson legendary U.S. motorbikes.

He spoke about his home state, Wisconsin, and praised Stephen King, the current U.S. ambassador to Prague, who assisted at the beginning of his own political career.

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