Zelenskyy understands Slovakia unable to cut Russian oil and gas supplies

Appreciating “the respect and support that we receive from the Polish people and the Polish government,” Zelenskyy said that under the new law, Poles on Ukrainian territory would be granted “the same rights that Ukrainians received in Poland.” [EPA-EFE/MIGUEL GUTIERREZ]

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he understands that Slovakia cannot afford to immediately cut its Russian oil and gas supplies but warned of the country’s dependence in a speech before the Slovak National Council on Tuesday.

Slovakia is one of the most Russia-dependent countries in both oil and gas. In the negotiations on the upcoming oil ban, the European Commission proposed a one-year exemption for Slovakia, but Economy Minister Richard Sulík demanded it is raised to three years.

In his speech to MPs, Zelenskyy said: “I understand that this is difficult for you,” but stressed the need for sanctions, saying that Russia has long tried to make Ukraine dependent on Russian gas. “We would like our European friends to escape this, to not be so dependent on Russian gas,” he added.

Zelenskyy also thanked Slovakia for its continued help. “It would be good for other countries in Europe and the world to learn from you,” he said.

The Ukrainian president also underlined the importance of the S-300 air defence system donation. He noted that Ukraine also needs fighter jets and helicopters.

“Ukrainians will always remember how Slovakia provided what we needed. There is potential for us to continue this,” Zelensky said of the military assistance. “If Ukraine does not stop Russian troops, they will come wherever they can, including Slovakia,” he added.

Zelenskyy also announced that the big conference on the post-war recovery of Ukraine would be held in Bratislava in June and organised by Slovak-based think tank Globsec.

Most MPs welcomed Zelenskyy, but ex-prime minister Robert Fico and most council members of his Smer party and far-right MPs left the chamber.

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