Slovakia’s new populist Prime Minister Robert Fico said Thursday that his government was stopping military aid to Ukraine.
Fico told MPs that the country would “no longer supply weapons to Ukraine,” repeating promises made during his election campaign, but would still supply humanitarian aid to its war-torn neighbor.
“I will support zero military aid to Ukraine… An immediate halt to military operations is the best solution we have for Ukraine. The EU should change from an arms supplier to a peacemaker,” he added.
Fico — who will attend the EU summit in Brussels Thursday — also expressed opposition to sanctions against Russia.
“I will not vote for any sanctions against Russia unless we see analyses of their impact on Slovakia,” he said.
“If there are to be such sanctions that will harm us, like most sanctions have, I can see no reason to support them.”
Fico spoke a day after his three-party coalition government was appointed.
It includes Fico’s left-wing Smer-SD, the far-right and pro-Russia SNS, and Hlas-SD, a breakaway party from Smer.
Smer-SD won last month’s general vote on pledges to end military help for Ukraine, raising concerns about cracks in Western support for Kyiv.
Following his party’s victory, Fico said, “the people in Slovakia have bigger problems than (dealing with) Ukraine” and called for peace talks as “further killing will not help anyone.”
Coalition partner SNS shares Fico’s staunch anti-refugee rhetoric and populist leanings.
Its pro-Russian chairman and former parliamentary speaker Andrej Danko said in July that Russian-occupied territories were not “historically Ukrainian.”
He is infamous for shaking hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin, taking a selfie with Russian State Duma Chair Vyacheslav Volodin, and addressing Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov as “my dear friend.”