News digest: Slovakia voices support for Ukraine's EU membership

Kuciak murder trial restarted. Several news websites faced attacks. Czech police officers will help at the border.

(Source: SME.sk / Hej,ty)

Good evening. The Monday, February 28, 2022 edition of Today in Slovakia is ready with the main news of the day in less than five minutes.

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New trial in the Kuciak murder case began

The new trial in the case of the 2018 double murder of investigative journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kušnírová started at the Specialised Criminal Court on February 28.

The court has had to deal with the case again, after the Supreme Court cancelled the original acquittal verdict for two of the defendants and alleged orchestrators of the murder, mobster Marian Kočner and his decoy Alena Zsuzsová, last June. Both are serving prison sentences for different crimes.

At the same time, the trial is now connected to the case of the planned murders of two then prosecutors and one then lawyer. Altogether five people are facing charges in this case, including Kočner and Zsuzsová.

The proceeding had to end shortly after noon, following the objections of the defendants against one judge of the three-member panel, Pamela Záleská, who pointed to her alleged bias.

Even though the panel decided to turn down the objection, Kočner’s lawyer submitted a complaint that will now have to be decided by the Supreme Court. As a result, the proceeding was adjourned.

It is not clear when the Supreme Court will decide on the complaint, and whether other proceedings planned for March 28-30 will take place as scheduled.


PM Heger supports Ukraine’s EU accession

PM Eduard Heger (OĽaNO) has reiterated his support for Ukraine joining the European Union. Yet, he said in an interview with Politico that there should be some “new type of pathway toward EU membership” created for the country now being devastated by the war.

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“After the war is over, it will be necessary to restore the country, so we have to prepare a new way for it to become an EU member,” Heger said during a talk show broadcast by private Radio Expres. “We can’t look at whether Kyiv met some economic criteria.”

The support was voiced by President Zuzana Čaputová as well, who stressed that “Ukraine is Europe” and that “it should be in the EU.”

Meanwhile, Slovakia still has not decided on whether it will expel Russian diplomats.

“Now it's mostly about strong signals,” Heger said, as quoted by SITA, referring to the decision to cancel the access of Russia to the SWIFT system and the closure of Slovakia’s airspace to the Russian aircraft announced earlier on Monday.


For a deeper insight into current affairs, check out our Last Week in Slovakia piece published earlier today. You can sign up for the newsletter here.


More on the war in Ukraine

  • The Interior Ministry allocated humanitarian aid worth €69,477 from its reserves to be sent to Ukraine, including hygiene kits, clothes and sleeping bags. Meanwhile, the Slovenská Pošta national postal operator dispatched two fully loaded trucks with humanitarian aid on Sunday night, which includes clothes, water, baby food, durable food, hygiene products and blankets collected by Bratislavans.
  • The government does not plan to change laws that would allow Slovak citizens go legally fight to Ukraine without permission. Currently, an approval of President Zuzana Čaputová is required; her office has not received any such request yet, the Denník N daily reported.
  • About 37,000 people from Ukraine have crossed the border with Slovakia since the war conflict broke out; 35 Ukrainians have asked for asylum in the past 24 hours, the Interior Ministry reported. The waiting times at the border oscillate between eight and 12 hours. Meanwhile, the Czech Republic decided on sending 50 police officers to help at the Slovak-Ukrainian border; they will help with the registration of foreigners.
  • The National Cyber Security Centre (SK-CERT) has registered several attempts at DDoS attacks on the websites run by the media outlets in connection with the war in Ukraine. A distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack is a malicious attempt to disrupt the normal traffic of a targeted server, service or network by overwhelming the target or its surrounding infrastructure with a flood of internet traffic.
  • Slovakia’s Culture Ministry has offered Ukraine the safe storage of its objects of cultural value. The ministry informed Ukrainian Ambassador to Slovakia Yurii Mushka and the International Council of Museums (ICOM) branch in Ukraine that it is ready to secure the movement and temporary storage of such objects for the necessary period of time.
  • The regular siren test that is usually taken every second Friday in a month will not take place in March, due to the situation in Ukraine and an attempt not to raise panic among people. A similar step was taken by the Czech Republic, the Interior Ministry said.

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Picture of the day

Slovak ice hockey player Zdeno Chára set a new record for most games played by an NHL defenseman. He appeared in his 1,652nd game on the night of February 24, breaking Chris Chelios' league record.


Feature story for today

The war in Ukraine will affect the economy of Slovakia while the scope remains unknown. Raw materials, on which Slovakia depends on the import of crude oil and natural gas from Russia, significantly raise the biggest concerns for now. The most frequently mentioned impact is the increase of prices of energy and fuels, that may, consequently, push inflation up.

Learn more in a report by Jana Liptáková.

The war in Ukraine will hurt Slovakia's economy Read more 

In other news

  • 4,728 people were newly diagnosed as Covid positive out of 8,825 PCR tests performed on February 27. The number of people in hospitals is 2,709; and 40 more deaths were reported on Sunday. The vaccination rate is at 51.22 percent, 2,817,237 people have received the first dose of the vaccine. More stats on Covid-19 in Slovakia here.
  • Schoolchildren at primary and secondary schools are no longer required to wear mask or FFP2 respirator during classes. Yet, they need to cover their faces with at least a mask when going outside of their classroom.
  • The Slovak Historical Society organisation, composed of the supporters of the far-right People’s Party Our Slovakia (ĽSNS), will not buy part of the house where Jozef Tiso, president of the Nazi-allied wartime Slovak state, was born in Bytča for now. They withdrew their proposal from the town council session scheduled to take place on February 24.
  • The new parking policy system in Bratislava will be applied in selected streets of the Ružinov borough on March 23 (namely Záhradnícka, Bajkalská, Jégeho and Trnavská Cesta Streets). The rest of the area around Nivy will be added in May and June.
  • The ban for all drivers to park their cars on pavements will come into force on March 1.
  • The price of residential properties in Slovakia went up by more than 10 percent year-on-year in the final quarter of 2021, according to the Statistics Office. The tempo of the growth slowed down in quarterly terms, but the prices were higher by 3.6 percent compared to the summer months.

Also on Spectator.sk:

BUSINESS FOCUS: Slovak universities are losing students Read more 

Tries and failures: Šíp Read more 

Resigned Bratislava Zoo director returns after citizenship debacle Read more 


If you have suggestions on how this news overview can be improved, you can reach us at editorial@spectator.sk.

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