In a December interview, economy minister Richard Sulík stated that he does not consider sanctions effective and thinks Russia will not return Crimea to Ukraine. The latter part of the statement recently caused tension between Ukraine and Slovakia. Sulík’s statement was, however, twisted by Russian news agency TASS.
This week, TASS released an article with the title: “Slovak vice prime minister hopes Crimea will remain part of Russia”.
This story was later published by Ukrainian media outlets, prompting accusations of betrayal.
The Ukrainian foreign ministry also stepped in when ministry spokesperson Oleg Nikolenko said the comment was “unacceptable as it questions the territorial integrity of Ukraine”. Nikolenko added it is even more painful when such a comment comes from a friendly neighbouring country.
Slovak Prime Minister Eduard Heger assured Ukraine that Slovakia condemns the annexation of Crimea and that this policy is binding for all government members. Heger also said that he hopes Foreign Minister Ivan Korčok, nominated by Sulík’s Freedom and Solidarity party, will talk about the issue with Sulík.
Sulík assured that Freedom and Solidarity does not support the annexation of Crimea and that the row was the result of word-twisting by TASS. However, he also confirmed that he does not support prolonging the sanctions against Russia.
(Michal Hudec | EURACTIV.sk)