Slovak PM apologises for ‘inappropriate’ Ukraine-Russia joke

Prime Minister Igor Matovič managed to offend Ukraine after his recent radio appearance to talk about the current governmental crisis in Slovakia, where he made an ‘inappropriate’ joke about exchanging Ukrainian territory for Russian vaccines. [EPA-EFE/Lukasz Gagulski]

Prime Minister Igor Matovič managed to offend Ukraine after his recent radio appearance to discuss the current government crisis in Slovakia, where he made an ‘inappropriate’ joke about exchanging Ukrainian territory for Russian vaccines.

When the radio host asked Matovič what he had promised Russia in exchange for the two million Sputnik V vaccine delivery, he replied: “Zakarpatska Oblast”, a reference to the Ukrainian province next to Slovakia’s borders, which was once part of Czechoslovakia.

The statement drew immediate criticism from diplomatic circles. Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba replied on Twitter, suggesting the Prime Minister offer parts of Slovakia instead.

“Apologies to all Ukrainians for my inappropriate reaction which could undermine their just efforts,” Matovič tweeted.

The situation in Slovakia remains uncertain with several members of the government calling for the PM to resign after buying the Russian jabs without it having yet been greenlighted by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). 

(Barbara Zmušková | EURACTIV.sk)

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