Slovakia | Why we sent the S300 to Ukraine – Slovak Foreign Minister’s statements
Defence Redefined
Published on 13/04/2022 at 11:05

Slovakia has decided to take a decisive role in strengthening Ukraine’s defence, said the Slovak Foreign Minister, speaking at the Delphi Economic Forum stressing at the same time that there is an urgent need for both Skopje and Albania to receive an immediate date for the start of accession negotiations.

Considering that its borders are a few kilometers from the operations theater, Slovakia has already supplied Ukraine with the S300 air defence system, which Russia says it has destroyed, while Kyiv and Bratislava deny it.

At the same time, Slovakia has opened the discussion for the supply of Soviet-made MiG-29 fighter jets. Slovak Foreign Minister, Ivan Korczok, told Euronews what made his country change its stance.

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“Ukraine has become the target of an unprecedented and unprovoked military attack. Russia continues its military operations and Ukraine has the legal right to defend itself. Ukraine has been seeking military assistance for some time. 

Then came a new request from the Ukrainian side to help them with the S300 defence system, which is absolutely necessary for the protection of civilians and infrastructure shelled by Russia. So we started looking at whether we could provide this kind of system, and to what extent we can replace it with other systems. We do not want to weaken Slovakia’s air defence. Once this was ensured, we decided to send the S300 to Ukraine. 

I must repeat that this is a defence system. There would be no discussion about the S300 if it were not for this illegal Russian attack and the civilians being killed as we speak. Otherwise, we would never consider giving up this system. But that is the situation and it requires such decisions.”

The Slovak Foreign Minister stressed that his country feels threatened, since the war is being fought next to them, as there have been rocket attacks and raids just across the border, stating that the runway at Uzhhorod Airport is actually 200 meters away from the Slovak border. 

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In terms of strengthening Slovakia’s air defence, he said that they have a responsibility to strengthen it and they do. In this regard, they have already received three Patriot batteries within the enhanced NATO pre-emptive presence and in addition, a fourth battery is being deployed by the USA in Slovakia.

Regarding the accession of the Western Balkans to the EU, the Slovak Foreign Minister said the following: “It is essential. What is at stake in Europe at the moment, what is causing it, is our immediate neighborhood. Look at Eastern Europe. Ten years ago we started the Eastern Partnership and now it has been ruined. 

There is an ongoing war in Ukraine. Look at the Western Balkans: these countries continue to express their will to become part of our family one day. We should appreciate that. We are establishing clear benchmarks and conditions for these countries to meet in order to get closer (i.e. to the EU). 

This is my call from our side, from the European side: when these countries like Northern Macedonia, Albania, and Montenegro, when they are making progress, we must not play games and we must recognize (their efforts) and let them get closer to the EU. So I said, by the end of this Presidency, we need to start negotiations with Northern Macedonia and Albania because the EU Commission has clearly said that they have fulfilled all conditions. 

If this does not happen, then we may start to lose the minds and hearts of the people in the Western Balkans, because their governments have to impose very difficult social reforms. These reforms cost a lot, they are painful, but they have a vision. And we must not play with that vision.”

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