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Slovaks evacuated from Georgia

A special flight chartered by the Slovak Interior Ministry arrived at the M.R. Štefánik Airport in Bratislava on August 11, carrying 14 Slovak citizens who decided to leave Georgia since the conflict there began. Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák said Armenia was very helpful towards the Slovaks.

A special flight chartered by the Slovak Interior Ministry arrived at the M.R. Štefánik Airport in Bratislava on August 11, carrying 14 Slovak citizens who decided to leave Georgia since the conflict there began. Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák said Armenia was very helpful towards the Slovaks.

"The initial plan was Tbilisi, but Georgia stopped outgoing and incoming flights," he said as quoted by TASR news wire. Kaliňák also said that if there were other Slovaks in Georgia who want to return home, the government is ready to send another aircraft immediately.

According to Foreign Affairs Ministry State Secretary Olga Algayerová, the ministry counts about 30 Slovaks registered in Georgia. "They are tourists, people who work there and football players," she said. "As long as the flight tickets weren't sold out, we were sending them home on commercial airlines."

Despite the increased risk, several Slovaks have chosen to remain in Georgia. According to some of those who chose to leave, the Georgians see the conflict as an act of aggression on the Russian side. Around 10 Slovaks expressed an interest in returning to Slovakia when the conflict escalated in Georgia on August 7, after Georgia sent troops into South Ossetia.

Russia, supporting South Ossetian autonomy, had peacekeeping troops in the troubled region and responded by sending in tanks and heavy artillery in order to push the Georgians out of the separatist region. On Sunday, August 10, Russia took control of South Ossetia's capital of Tskhinvali, which led to the withdrawal of Georgian troops and Georgia offering a ceasefire and peace talks. TASR

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