Kyiv has dismissed urgings by Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico that Ukraine give up territory to the country’s Russian invaders.
“Let’s be honest: No security in Ukraine means no security in Slovakia or Europe as a whole,” said Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Oleg Nikolenko.
“We must work together to bring Ukraine’s victory closer.”
Nikolenko was commenting on Saturday remarks by Fico, in which Slovakia’s newly elected, pro-Moscow leader pressed Kyiv to be more realistic. “There must be some kind of compromise. Why do they [Ukrainians] expect the Russians to leave Crimea, Donbas, and Luhansk? It is not real,” Fico said.
But Kyiv wasn’t having it. “There can be no compromise on territorial integrity. Not Ukraine, not Slovakia, not any other country,” Nikolenko countered. “Ukraine and its partners are making efforts to remove Russians from Crimea, Donbas and Luhansk, so that they do not go further, in particular to Košice [and] Pryašiv [Prešov, both cities in eastern Slovakia] and other Slovak regions.”
The tense exchange occurred shortly before Fico is due to meet his Ukraine counterpart, Denys Shmyhal, on January 24. Alleging that Ukraine was under “the total influence” of Washington and was “one of the most corrupt nations in the world,” Fico promised he would tell Shmyhal that Slovakia intended to veto Ukraine’s bid to join NATO and to halt weapons supplies to Kyiv.
Previously, during a press conference last week with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, Fico said Russia’s war on Ukraine “has no military solution.”
Fico started his fourth term as Slovak prime minister in December after his leftist-populist Smer (Direction) party won a September 30 general election. His campaign touted opposing sanctions against Russia and ceasing weapons shipments to Ukraine under the slogan, “Not a single round.”
Sergey Goryashko is hosted at POLITICO under the EU-funded EU4FreeMedia residency program.