UKRAINE deceived us and refused to help Slovakia in 2009, Prime Minister Robert Fico reiterated during his meeting with Slovakia’s ambassadors, which was also attended by outgoing European diplomacy head Catherine Ashton.

Fico previously accused Ukraine of having “brutally fooled” Slovakia, after attending an informal summit of EU prime ministers in Brussels on May 28, making a reference to the gas crisis that hit Slovakia back in 2009.

“They did not help us and speculated until the very last moment,” Fico said, as quoted by the public service Slovak Radio on May 28. “We know that Ukraine was ready and stole the gas, which went by transit through Ukraine towards Slovakia and western Europe.” According to the Sme daily, Fico was likely referring to developments which saw Ukraine, after Russia halted its gas supplies in to the country, use the remaining gas for its own consumption.

Fico repeated this in front of Ashton and the Slovak diplomats on July 1, adding that Slovakia’s solidarity is greater now when ensuring the reverse gas flow to Ukraine.

Fico also criticised Austria for the bilateral deal that Russian Gazprom recently signed with Austrian company OMV over the controversial Russian gas pipeline project South Stream, the public-service Slovak Radio reported.

“It is probably necessary to tell our Austrian friends more vigorously that with individual agreements on the preparation of transit such as the one they signed last week, they are cutting the branch that not only Ukraine and Slovakia, but also other EU countries, are sitting on,” Fico said, as reported by Slovak Radio.

Fico also expressed surprise over the fact that no objections to this effect were raised towards the Austrian chancellor during the latest European Council summit in Brussels.