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26 Jan. 2024

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Why did Slovakia's pro-russian leader Fico abruptly change his mind and side with Ukraine?

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Why did Slovakia's pro-russian leader Fico abruptly change his mind and side with Ukraine?

The change in position of the pro-russian leader of Slovakia, Robert Fico, and his move to the side of Ukraine has caused widespread interest and controversy. Find out more about how and why the Slovak official changed his position

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Slovakia's Prime Minister Robert Fico, known for his friendship with russia, has unexpectedly changed his position in favor of Ukraine, promising to support Kyiv just days after he expressed doubts about Ukraine's sovereignty. This is reported by the British edition of The Financial Times, BBC reports.


The head of the country's government, who had previously made provocative statements about ending military aid to Ukraine and lifting anti-russian sanctions, suddenly changed his rhetoric during a visit to Uzhhorod and a meeting with Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal.


Fico said that "there are only minor political differences between Bratislava and Kyiv" and added that this is "part of normal political life," according to the FT.


"We really want to help you," the politician emphasized.


Denys Shmyhal replied that he was open to developing "pragmatic and very reliable relations" between the two countries.


Later, Shmyhal said that Fico emphasized that the Slovak government would not prevent Slovak companies from supplying weapons to Ukraine in accordance with the contracts and would help strengthen the country's defense.


Fico also promised to support Ukraine's application to join the European Union and Brussels' macro-financial assistance to Kyiv.


Earlier, experts suggested that Fico might support the blocking of aid to Ukraine by Hungarian leader Viktor Orban. The FT notes that the Slovak prime minister's rhetoric changes dramatically from domestic policy to foreign visits.




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What do you know about Fico's statements regarding Ukraine?


Recently, Robert Fico questioned Ukraine's sovereignty, claiming that it is under "absolute US influence." He called on Kyiv to give up some territory to russia in order to end the conflict and protested against Ukraine joining NATO, as he said it could lead to a third world war.


He later went even further, claiming that there is no war in Ukraine at all. Asked why his visit was limited to Uzhhorod on the border and not the capital, he replied: "Do you believe there is a war in Kyiv?"


"There is a big difference between Fico's rhetoric inside and outside the country," says Pavol Demes, former Slovak Foreign Minister.


He believes that the Ukrainian side successfully worked to prevent the escalation of tensions before Fico's visit to Ukraine.


"But the number of harsh statements Fico has made recently has alarmed many in the field of foreign policy, as he has worsened the image of our country before an important visit," Demes emphasized.


The Financial Times notes that Fico headed a coalition that fomented anti-Ukrainian sentiment. His opposition accused him of using russian support for his re-election campaign. 


Fico, for his part, rejects any russian interference in his victory.


In addition, Robert Fico has changed his approach to arms exports. Last year, he criticized the previous government for supplying Kyiv with MiG-29 aircraft and promised to ban arms exports. However, in November, the government announced that the ban would only apply to state-owned enterprises.


It is emphasized that an important reason why arms supplies are not stopped is that Slovak defense companies receive huge orders from Ukraine, which provides jobs for local residents. This, according to experts, may be a key factor in why Fico does not stop deliveries.

We remind you! Yesterday, a russian military transport aircraft carrying S-300 missiles for the bombing of Ukraine crashed in the Belgorod region. Read here to find out what is known about the crash and what facts indicate a new russian provocation.

Want to know more? Read the latest news and useful materials about Ukraine and the world in the News section.




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