Lithuanian PM congratulates new Slovak govt, hopes to continue helping Ukraine

  • 2023-10-26
  • BNS/TBT Staff

VILNIUS – Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte on Wednesday congratulated Slovakia's new government and hopes for continues cooperation within the EU and NATO in helping Ukraine and putting further pressure on the aggressor Russia.

Sworn in on Wednesday, new Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico earlier voiced his readiness to suspend his country's support for Ukraine as it's fighting against Russian invasion.

"Lithuania highly values the friendly relations with Slovakia and greatly appreciates your country’s contribution to the NATO’s presence in the Baltic states. Russia’s war against Ukraine and Russia’s ability to rebuild military capabilities still pose the greatest threat not only to Ukraine but also to all the neighboring countries, as well as to the EU and NATO," the Lithuanian prime minister said in her message of congratulation. "I hope that by acting in unison in strengthening sanctions against the aggressor and in helping Ukraine to win, we – the community of democratic nations – will be able to return peace and stability on the European continent."

Simonytr hopes that Lithuania and Slovakia "will work together in further strengthening the EU and NATO, as well as the democratic values that are key to the rules-based international order".

"Our solidarity and close cooperation have never been more critical in countering the challenges that democracies face today," the Lithuanian prime minister said.

Fico formed his parliamentary majority by signing a coalition agreement with the left-wing Hlas party and the ultra-nationalist pro-Russian Slovak National Party.

Fico's return could mark a dramatic shift in the country's foreign policy and undermine the fragile unity of the European Union and NATO. He's against the EU sanctions against Russia, doubts whether Ukraine can push the invading Russian troops out and wants to prevent Ukraine from joining NATO.

The Slovak politician has also suggested that instead of sending arms to Kyiv, the EU and the US should use their influence to force Russia and Ukraine into a compromise peace agreement.

Fico has also several times echoed Russian President Vladimir Putin's claims that the Ukrainian government is neo-Nazi and that ethnic Russians living in the east of the country should be protected from it.

So far, Slovakia, a country with a population of 5.5 million, has been a staunch supporter of Ukraine since Russia attacked it in February 2022, has donated arms and opened its borders to refugees fleeing the war.