While Hungary had declined to supply weapons to Ukraine from the beginning of the war, Poland had only stopped military aid recently in reaction to a row with Kiyv concerning grain exports. Now it seems Slovakia is the third country neighboring Ukraine that will not be sending military equipment to the war-torn country.
On Wednesday Slovak President Zuzana Čaputová opposed the plan of the Ministry of Defense to provide another package of military aid to Ukraine. Martin Strižinec, spokesman for the president, justified the decision with the result of Saturday’s (30 September) parliamentary elections in Slovakia, after which the parties rejecting this form of aid to Kiev are negotiating the formation of a government on the basis of the head of state’s mandate, reported Hlavné Správy.
Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of the Ukrainian Security Council, has reportedly reacted to the news saying the said in response “that Russian agents have a strong influence in Slovakia”, a narrative that is often repeated in Western media outlets in connection with the victory of Robert Fico’s party, SMER-SD.
The package of supplies under consideration for Ukraine would include, for example, ammunition. After the start of the Russian invasion in February last year, Slovakia gradually handed over various military hardware and equipment to Ukraine, including the S-300 air defense system and MiG-29 fighter jets. Zuzana Čaputová, who appointed the current interim government of Prime Minister Ludovít Ódor in May, has repeatedly made it clear in the past that Ukraine needs help and has criticized Russia for its military incursion into the neighboring country.
A former MIG-29 fighter jet of the Slovak Air Force, now flying in Ukrainian colors. Photo: Wikipedia
“All political parties negotiating today for a new government with a mandate clearly reject such aid. Deciding in such a situation to provide military equipment would not be a good precedent for a change of political power after possible elections,” said presidential spokesman Martin Strižinec.
Ukrainian news agency Unian wrote that Ukraine had one last chance to get aid from Slovakia, but president Čaputová opposed it. The agency also quoted Oleksiy Danilov, secretary of Ukraine’s Security Council, criticizing Slovakia for being subject to Russian influence. “It should be noted that the influence of Russian agents in Slovakia is absolutely insane. First they were in Prague, but then, as they got a bit of a hard time there, they moved to Bratislava,” Danilov claimed. The European Union, he said, should closely monitor such developments.
On the question of providing further military aid to Ukraine, President Čaputová said that
the results of the elections should be respected and the negotiations on the formation of a new government should be awaited.
Her spokesman stressed that the head of state supports military aid to Ukraine, but does not approve nor disapprove of its provision
“First of all, the president does not give or refuse consent to the provision of military aid, so it is not true that she has stopped another package of military aid to Ukraine. However, the president shares the prime minister’s view that on this issue it is necessary to respect the results of the elections and wait for the conclusions of the negotiations on the formation of a new government, which are underway these days,” Strižinec said.
Unlike Hungary, Poland continues to allow other countries’ weapons shipments through its territory. It remains to be seen though how far the new Slovak government will take its policy of stopping military aid, whether it will also include banning transport sent by third parties.
Via Hlavné Správy; Featured Image: Facebook Zuzana Čaputová