| 1 December 2023, Friday |

Slovak coalition partner expects commercial military sales to Ukraine to continue

The new Slovak government’s commitment to cease military aid to Ukraine should only effect army supplies, not commercial sales, parliament’s speaker and head of the second-largest ruling party, Peter Pellegrini, was cited as saying on Friday.

On Thursday and Friday, Prime Minister Robert Fico spoke at a two-day European Union conference, saying that Slovakia will halt military backing its neighbor Ukraine while continuing to support humanitarian supplies.

Fico won last month’s election with pledge to stop military aid to Ukraine on his manifesto. He was appointed as prime minister for a fourth time this week, leading a three-party government.

Commenting on the message on Friday, Pellegrini, leader of the centre-left Hlas party, was quoted by media as saying he favoured allowing orders made on a commercial basis to continue.

“If someone orders and pays for these systems, then that is support for Slovak industry,” Dennik N quoted him saying.

Slovakia’s defence industry has seen a boost with others in central and eastern Europe amid efforts to aid Ukraine’s battle against the Russian invasion.

Germany, Denmark and Norway said a year ago they would buy 16 Slovak-made Zuzana-2 howitzers for Ukraine.

Dennik N said the first was delivered in August.

Fico told a parliamentary committee ahead of the summit that he saw no military solution to the conflict, and said the army’s supplies were depleted and the army needed to concentrate on its own stocks.

  • Reuters