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22 Jan, 2024 13:46

Ukraine must give up territory – EU state's PM

Expecting Russia to abandon Crimea or Donbass is “unrealistic,” Prime Minister of Slovakia Robert Fico has said
Ukraine must give up territory – EU state's PM

Ukraine should concede the loss of some of the territories that were previously under its control in order to end the conflict with Russia, Slovakia’s prime minister Robert Fico has said.

Fico made the statement during a weekend interview with broadcaster RTVS dedicated to his upcoming visit to Ukraine. The Slovak PM is scheduled to travel on Wednesday to Uzhgorod, a city near the border between the two countries, for a meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart Denis Shmygal.

The ongoing conflict between Moscow and Kiev can’t be resolved through military means and should end in compromise that might be “painful for both sides,” he said.

“What are [the Ukrainians] waiting for? That the Russians will leave Donbass and Lugansk, or that they will leave Crimea? It’s unrealistic,” Fico insisted.

The People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk were officially incorporated into the Russian state in the fall of 2022, together the Kherson and Zaporozhye regions, as a result of referendums held in those areas. Crimea has been a part of Russia since 2014.

The continuation of the fighting that has been underway since February 2022 will only make Moscow stronger, Fico added.

The Slovak premier also said Ukraine was “not a sovereign, independent country” due to it being “under the absolute influence of the US.” He criticized the EU for making “a huge mistake” of following Washington’s lead when it comes to dealing with Kiev, instead of developing its own “sovereign” view on the issue.

As for his talks this week with Shmygal, Fico promised to tell his Ukrainian counterpart that he’s against Kiev’s membership in NATO, as that would be “exactly the basis of World War Three,” and to reiterate that President Vladimir Zelensky’s government won’t be getting any more weapons from Bratislava.

The prime minister’s interview caused angry reaction in Kiev, with the head of the Ukrainian parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee Aleksandr Merezhko demanded that Fico’s trip to Ukraine be canceled for his “disgraceful statements” that crossed “the red line.”

“Every country should have at least minimal self-respect. It’s absolutely unacceptable to pretend that nothing is happening when the leader of another state makes statements that question the sovereignty of a state” that he’s about to visit, Merezhko wrote on Facebook.

Fico made a comeback as Slovakia’s prime minister in October after his party won the snap election in the EU country, campaigning on promises of, among other measures, cutting military aid to Kiev and improving ties with Moscow.

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