Slovakia Opposes Ukraine's NATO Accession, Prime Minister Warns of Global War Risks

Slovakia opposes Ukraine's NATO bid, citing risks of global war. Prefers Ukraine's EU integration while maintaining neutrality. Aligns with Hungary in seeking diplomatic resolution to Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Wojciech Zylm
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Slovakia Opposes Ukraine's NATO Accession, Prime Minister Warns of Global War Risks

Slovakia Opposes Ukraine's NATO Accession, Prime Minister Warns of Global War Risks

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico has firmly stated that Slovakia will oppose Ukraine's NATO membership bid, emphasizing the need for a neutral Ukraine to safeguard Slovakia's interests. Fico, leader of the populist left-wing party Smer, warned that the risks of a global war would only increase if Ukraine becomes a member of the US-led military alliance.

In a clear stance against Ukraine's potential NATO membership, Fico declared that Slovakia's parliament will not ratify the documents for Ukraine's admission to NATO. He stressed that Slovakia needs a neutral Ukraine, and its interests will be at risk if Ukraine becomes a NATO member. "Ukraine's membership in NATO would only benefit the Third World War," Fico said, adding that an independent Ukraine is sufficient for Slovakia.

Why this matters: Slovakia's opposition to Ukraine's NATO accession highlights the complex geopolitical dynamics and differing perspectives among European nations regarding the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine. As a neighboring country, Slovakia's stance carries significant weight and may influence the trajectory of Ukraine's NATO aspirations and regional stability.

While firmly opposing Ukraine's NATO bid, Fico expressed support for Ukraine's accession to the European Union. He stated that Slovakia hopes Brussels and Kyiv will begin talks to launch this process as soon as possible. This nuanced approach highlights Slovakia's preference for Ukraine's integration into the EU while maintaining its neutrality in the military sphere.

Slovakia's position aligns with that of neighboring Hungary, led by Prime Minister Viktor Orban. Both countries have insisted on a diplomatic resolution to the Russia-Ukraine conflict and have opposed sending weapons to Kyiv or deploying NATO troops to Ukraine. A recent opinion poll found that 51% of Slovakians believe the West and/or Ukraine are responsible for the conflict, and half said the United States posed a security threat to their country.

Despite Ukraine formally applying to join NATO in September 2022, the alliance has so far refused to commit to a specific timetable or provide a clear pathway for Kyiv's accession. US President Joe Biden and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg have ruled out Ukraine's membership until the fighting ends. Russia has repeatedly stated that it views NATO's continuing expansion eastward as a national security threat and has described Ukraine's potential accession as a "red line."

Prime Minister Fico emphasized that Slovakia is a sovereign and self-confident country and will not bow down to outside pressure. He criticized the West and Ukraine for the start of the war in 2014 and argued that Slovakia wants to pursue good, friendly relations with everyone, including Russia, in the aftermath of the conflict.

Key Takeaways

  • Slovakia will oppose Ukraine's NATO membership bid to maintain Ukraine's neutrality.
  • Slovakia's PM Fico warns Ukraine's NATO membership would increase risks of global war.
  • Slovakia supports Ukraine's EU integration but opposes its NATO accession.
  • Slovakia's stance aligns with Hungary, both opposing weapons to Ukraine and NATO troops.
  • NATO has so far refused to commit to a timetable for Ukraine's NATO membership.