PRIME Minister Robert Fico has continued his habit of characterising sanctions that the EU and United States are imposing on Russia as senseless and harmful to Slovakia.

Speaking during an August 17 ceremony commemorating the victims of the Nazism in the village of Kalište, which during the Slovak National Uprising (SNP) in 1944 became the centre of the so-called Partisan Republic and which was burnt down on March 18, 1945 by the Nazi troops, Fico said that the year 2014 is a year of several anniversaries connected with the two world wars.

Europe hasn’t learned from the past “and we still continue seeking enemies”, Fico said as quoted by the Sme daily. This was greeted with a round of applause from the crowd of about 3,000 people, the daily reported.

Fico in his speech suggested that while the sanctions against Russia are harmful for Slovakia, “someone else can rejoice” over this situation, and he asked “whom does this favour”, Sme reported.

Two days before, on August 15, President Andrej Kiska addressed the issue of the sanctions too, saying that the EU sanctions against Russia may bring certain economic losses, but one needs to be prepared to make sacrifices, the TASR newswire reported.

"Business interests mustn't be put above the fundamental values of freedom and democracy," wrote Kiska on his Facebook profile as quoted by TASR. He is currently on holiday outside Slovakia.

Kiska stated that even though every normal person wishes cooperation and understanding, if a country - however big and powerful - grossly violates international law and human rights, the democratic part of the world must adopt efficient measures.

According to Kiska, Slovakia has suffered twice in the past when it became a pawn in a game involving strong neighbours.

"In 1938, [European] powers decided to hand over Czechoslovakia to Nazi Germany, which thus gained momentum for further expansion, and in 1968 nobody defended us against the communist Soviet Union," wrote Kiska, adding that Slovakia should be in the forefront of those calling on democratic countries to adopt a joint course of action.

"If words aren't enough, appeals must be given more weight, by introducing economic sanctions, if necessary, against countries that want to expand, dictate and menace others," he added.

Source: Sme, TASR

Compiled by Michaela Terenzani from press reports.
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information
presented in its Flash News postings.