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Slovak Elections Could Spell End of Unpopular Military Aid to Ukraine

© AP Photo / David W CernySlovakia's Prime Minister Robert Fico speaks during an interview with Reuters in Bratislava, Slovakia, February 22, 2016
Slovakia's Prime Minister Robert Fico speaks during an interview with Reuters in Bratislava, Slovakia, February 22, 2016 - Sputnik International, 1920, 18.09.2023
Slovakia's government has been one of the most enthusiastic for arming the Kiev regime to fight Russia on NATO's behalf and one of just three countries to supply jet fighter aircraft. But that policy is unpopular with voters.
Looming elections in Slovakia could see an opponent of arms supplies to Ukraine lead a coalition government.
Former prime minister Robert Fico's social-democratic Smer (Direction) party is dominating recent polls ahead of the September 30 election with around 20 percent support, putting it on track to become the largest party in the National Council parliament.
Fico, who has already served as PM twice from 2006 to 2010 and again from 2012 to 2018, opposes the conservative coalition government of Ľudovít Ódor in its backing for NATO's proxy war with Russia.
“If Smer is part of the government, we won’t send any arms or ammunition to Ukraine anymore,” Fico said.
With a population of just 5.5 million, Slovakia has made a disproportionally large contribution to fuelling the conflict in Ukraine. It has already sent 30 armored infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs), 16 155mm self-propelled howitzers, 13 MiG-29 jet fighters — albeit three without engines — five helicopters, and two surface-to-air missile (SAM) batteries to Kiev.
But that policy lacks popular support. A recent survey by pro-Western security think-tank Globsec, based in the capital Bratislava, found that 69 percent of Slovaks believed that arming Ukraine provoked Russia and brought the two countries closer to war.
A majority of 51 percent said they believed the conflict was the fault of the West or Ukraine, while 50 percent saw the US as a security threat to Slovakia — compared to 54 percent who viewed Russia in the same light.
Bratislava - Sputnik International, 1920, 25.04.2023
Top Slovak Lawmaker Warns Against Raising Ukraine's NATO Membership Hopes
The two-time leader said the aims set by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for victory or peace on Kiev's terms are unrealistic.
Zelensky demands that Moscow surrender Crimea, which voted to reunite with Russia in 2014, along with the newly-incorporated regions of Donetsk, Lugansk, Zaporozhye and Kherson. But Ukraine's vaunted summer offensive to seize those territories has only succeeded in capturing a handful of villages.

“It’s naïve to think that Russia would leave Crimea,’’ Fico stressed. “It’s naïve to think that Russia would ever abandon the territory it controls.”

Support for continued membership of NATO in the annual Globsec survey had also fallen sharply to 58 percent this year, after rising to a high of 72 percent in 2022.
Furthermore, only 48 percent of Slovaks believed Western-style democracy had been good for their country.
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