SLOVAKIA’S Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajčák has voiced concern over the latest violent clashes between pro-Ukrainian and pro-Russian protesters in the Black Sea port of Odessa, which claimed dozens of lives on May 2.

“The images of meaningless bloodshed on the streets of Odessa have filled me with utmost grief,” Lajčák said, as quoted by the TASR newswire. “Violent confrontations and hatred leading to armed clashes will not solve anything. I am convinced that the only way forward for Ukraine lies in peaceful coexistence based on the principles of equal treatment of everyone in a unified and democratic country.”

Lajčák added that political affairs must be resolved by political means, and not via street battles.
The minister at the same time added that stability in Ukraine can only be achieved by means of easing tensions and using the full potential of the Geneva negotiations held on April 17, in which Ukraine, Russia, the US and the European Union agreed on a series of measures aimed at pulling eastern Ukraine back from the brink of war.

The Foreign Affairs Ministry also issued a recommendation on May 6 for Slovaks not to travel to eastern and southern Ukraine, or Crimea, due to the continuous critical situation in those parts of the country. It also does not recommend travelling to other regions in Ukraine, including its capital Kiev, due to the “unpredictable internal political situation”, if it is unnecessary.

The Interior Ministry has meanwhile informed that it has started asylum proceedings with three Ukrainians. One person lodged a request last year, while the other two asked for asylum in April. Since the proceedings are still underway, the ministry has not provided any further details, the SITA newswire wrote.

Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák said on April 23 that two Ukrainians asked for asylum, claiming they are from Crimea.

“From my point of view, there certainly is a reason [to ask for asylum] since the situation in Crimea can be assessed as a certain threat to their human rights,” Kaliňák said, as quoted by SITA. He added that it would be more difficult to assess the request by Ukrainians from western Ukraine.