President Volodymyr Zelenskyj’s visit to Slovakia for the first time since Russia invaded Ukraine, on Friday 7th July, has been welcomed by President Zuzana Čaputová. “An important symbol of our relationship, but also a symbol of our increasingly developing cooperation”, the Slovak Head of State commented on Facebook. Zelenskyj thanked Slovakia for its support to Ukraine and Čaputová pledged her country will continue to stay with Ukraine, “as a victim of unprovoked aggression”. Also on the table is a contract for the production of an additional 16 Slovakia-manufactured 2 howitzers; the first units scheduled to be delivered this summer. While Slovakia cannot donate any further military equipment to Ukraine, both countries will deepen their cooperation on the production of howitzers and ammunition.
Zelenskyj also met Prime Minister Ľudovít Ódor, who confirmed the necessity to set conditions for Slovak entrepreneurs interested in making investments in Ukraine or participating in its post-war recovery as soon as possible. Ódor expressed support for Ukraine’s integration as an EU candidate. In this regard, House Chair Boris Kollár – who also met with Zelenskyj last Friday – stated that Ukraine cannot join the Atlantic alliance before the war’s end. While thanking Kyiv for fighting also on behalf of Slovakia, Kollár handed over to Zelenskyj a resolution of the Slovak Parliament that recognized the 1932-1933 Holodomor in Ukraine as genocide. The Ukrainian Presidentalso met former PM Eduard Heger and former Defence minister Jaroslav Nad’, thanking them for the decision to send the decommissioned MiG-29s to Ukraine last March. Having a free Ukraine in the EU and NATO is in Slovakia’s security interest, both agreed.
A thesis that is not shared by Smer-SD leader Robert Fico, who has spoken out for months against sending arms to Ukraine and against its membership in NATO. Timid on the adhesion of Kyiv to the EU, he repeatedly questioned Slovakia’s military help. Thus, the country’s support to Ukraine cannot be guaranteed after the elections in September, as country’s first two parties, Smer-SD and Hlas-SD, are quite reluctant concerning their support for Ukraine. They continue to cultivate an electorate that traditionally looks more to the East than to the West. After Zelenskyj’s visit, Fico also commented that having Ukraine in NATO would go against Slovakia’s national interests. “Ukraine does not belong to NATO”, he stated. “It is very important to give Ukraine security guarantees, both from the East as from the West. But it is important that some buffer area exists between NATO and the Russian Federation”.
(Published on amedeogasparini.com)