Slovakia’s new Prime Minister Robert Fico said his government will not join sanctions against Russia if they harm his country. According to him, the restrictions already introduced often harm Slovaks.
Before Fico came to power, Bratislava actively supported Kyiv – it supplied weapons to the Ukrainian Armed Forces and joined all EU restrictions regarding Moscow. Bratislava was one of the first to agree to transfer combat aircraft to Ukraine, and gave the S-300 air defense system; the country’s total military assistance is estimated at 600 million euros.
If the Fico government refuses to supply arms to Ukraine, then Slovakia will become the second country after Hungary to oppose military assistance to Kyiv from among the Visegrad Four countries. The group, in addition to Slovakia and Hungary, includes Poland and the Czech Republic.
“My government’s position is that an immediate cessation of hostilities is the best solution we have for Ukraine,” Fico said during a speech to members of the European Committee of the Slovak Parliament.
He stated that he considered it impossible to achieve the liberation of the occupied territories of Ukraine by Russia. According to the prime minister, it is better if Russia and Ukraine “negotiate peace for 10 years than to kill each other for 10 years.”
The Slovak Prime Minister also noted that, in his opinion, Ukraine is not ready to join the European Union, but Bratislava will not block the start of negotiations on Kyiv’s accession to the EU.
The leader of the opposition party Progressive Slovakia, Michal Šimečka, commenting on Fico’s statements, noted that the prime minister should listen to the opinion of the committee on comprehensive assistance to Ukraine.
Kyiv has repeatedly stated that peace negotiations with Russia are possible only on the condition of the complete withdrawal of Russian troops. In October 2022, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky enacted a decision of the National Security and Defense Council, which stated the impossibility of negotiating with Russian President Vladimir Putin.