Prime Minister Robert Fico has drawn attention to himself intentionally or not by claiming there was a 70% chance of a serious military conflict erupting in the region in reference to the Ukraine situation. His words did not fall on deaf ears as mainstream news channels across the globe cited his warning.
The prime minister said he could envisage a “broader conflict. Not just one between Ukraine and Russia”, and given Slovakia’s immediate proximity to Ukraine, leading world media sat up and took note. Others criticised him, such as former defence minister Martin Fedor, who said Fico was endangering Slovakia’s interests with his ‘ill-advised comments’.
Fico made the comments at a discussion forum yesterday organised by daily Hospodarske Noviny, where he called on the European Union to avert this kind of scenario and send signals of peace to the east. His words come as a new wave of US and European Union sanctions is in the pipeline, but not the EUR 40 billion South Stream gas pipeline, the long-term plans for which were almost flippantly cancelled by President Putin this week.
Prime Minister Fico, known for his slant to the east, has never openly condemned the actions of Russia and has stated several times that sanctions are not the way forward.