SLOVAKIA retains the privilege to say “no” to any EU-proposed sanctions towards Russia that would harm the country’s national interests, Prime Minister Robert Fico told a press conference after the EU summit on August 31.

He repeated statements he had made in the previous days that the sanctions against Russia are senseless and counter-productive.

“We don’t agree with such a sanctions war,” Fico said, as quoted by the TASR newswire. “Sanctions lead nowhere; they can’t be our policy; they can be [only] a tool of our policy.”

Fico told the press that Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko participated in a summit in which he presented information about the current situation in Ukraine, and European leaders responded by proposing new sanctions against Russia, the SITA newswire reported.

“There was no other alternative; we didn’t have the possibility to confront his [Poroshenko’s] claims with the claims of someone else,” Fico said, as quoted by TASR, adding that while he respects Poroshenko, that does not mean that he believes everything that the Ukrainian President says.

Fico reiterated that Czech PM Bohuslav Sobotka shares his opinion about the sanctions and that the two governments will coordinate their moves in the future. He did not rule out the possibility of a cabinet session to deal exclusively with this issue, and promised that the foreign minister or an ambassador would not agree to EU measures in Brussels without informing the public, TASR reported.

The opinion that new sanctions are needed is dominating the European Council, but they significantly harm the EU, according to Fico, who added that it is senseless to agree with the new sanctions until the effect of the previous ones can be seen, and this has not happened yet.

“It seems that the current sanctions have not changed the attitude of the Russian Federation, but more to the contrary,” Fico said, as quoted by TASR. “Further sanctions might only worsen the security situation in Ukraine.”

Fico also rejected the use of any external military forces for resolving the current Ukraine crisis.

(Source: SITA, TASR)

Compiled by Roman Cuprik from press reports
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