May 23. 2024. 8:54

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Slovakia’s Fico reaffirms support for Ukraine


Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, known for his pro-Russian rhetoric, condemned the Kremlin’s aggression and pledged Slovakia’s support for Ukraine and its EU accession when he met his Ukrainian counterpart Denys Shmyhal in Slovakia on Thursday.

At a joint press conference with Shmyhal, Fico said he wished for a peaceful solution to the war in Ukraine that would respect territorial integrity and sovereignty and would be fair to Ukraine.

He also offered Ukraine cooperation in finding peaceful solutions and confirmed that Slovakia would take part in the planned peace summit in Switzerland in mid-June.

“Russia’s use of military force in Ukraine was a flagrant violation of international law,” the Slovak prime minister said during the joint press conference, adding that Ukraine needs help and solidarity. “We are here to help,” Fico told Shmyhal.

Fico also highlighted the difficult times the Ukrainian people are going through.

“Our petty battles look ridiculous compared to what you are waging. People sometimes do not realise the difficulties you are facing,” he said, despite refusing to send arms to Ukraine and claiming there was “no war in Kyiv” in January.

Experts have regularly pointed to Fico’s words and actions towards the international partners, often in stark contrast to what he usually says to his domestic audience in Slovakia.

During the meeting with Shmyhal, Fico also reiterated his support for Ukraine’s accession to the EU, saying that his government “does not intend to put any obstacles in its way.”

Both prime ministers confirmed the mutual cooperation between the two countries.

Shmyhal appreciated the “constructive meeting” and said that “Slovakia is very firmly on the Ukrainian side and condemns Russian aggression.”

“I look forward to this confident support of Prime Minister Fico,” said Ukraine’s prime minister, adding that Kyiv “has made significant progress in achieving mutually beneficial cooperation” with Slovakia.

The two prime ministers agreed, for example, on new transport links between Kyiv and Slovakia’s second-largest city, Košice, and discussed energy cooperation and military cooperation with Slovak private companies.

(Natália Silenská | Euractiv.sk)

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