News digest: No need to purchase iodine pills or arrange passports, authorities calm people down

Bratislava Old Town takes steps against Russian Embassy. Public transport in the capital is free for Ukrainian refugees.

(Source: / Hej,ty)

Good evening. The Tuesday, March 1 edition of Today in Slovakia is ready with the main news of the day in less than five minutes.

Slovakia will not give its fighter jets to Ukraine

The Slovak government did not discuss whether to provide Ukraine with our MiG-29 fighter jets and Ukrainians have not even asked us to do so, Defence Minister Jaroslav Naď (OĽaNO) wrote on Facebook, stating that Slovakia is not planning such a step.

Speculations about Slovakia, Poland and Bulgaria supplying the Ukrainian air force with their fighter jets started circulating on Sunday night after EU's diplomacy chief Josep Borrell gave his statement to the media.

"We will even provide Ukraine with fighter jets," he said.

Naď said that he did announce that the government is discussing the possibility of "getting rid" of the MiGs, but unless everything is worked out in negotiations - nothing is settled.

"It would be extremely irresponsible to get rid of an element protecting our airspace without having an appropriate replacement," the minister said.

He added that in the context of assistance to Ukraine, it is necessary to give
space to rational negotiations and to hear out Ukrainian demands.

Russian plane landed in Slovakia despite closed airspace

A Volga Dnepr Airlines plane landed at Bratislava Airport early morning Tuesday with nuclear fuel from the Russian Federation, despite the ban on Russian planes from entering Slovakia’s airspace.

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This was a flight for the Economy Ministry, which confirmed that nuclear fuel was on board. The supplies the plane carried are part of the efforts to secure Slovakia's resources in the event of possible problems with fuel supplies from Russia.

The ministry said that it used an exception in accordance with valid measures, which could apply for nuclear fuel and humanitarian aid.

"After gas and oil, Slovakia's economy has secured another energy carrier," Economy Minister Richard Sulík (SaS).

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More on the war in Ukraine

  • The number of people asking for iodine pills in pharmacies has increased in the past few days, the largest pharmacy network in Slovakia, Dr.Max, has confirmed. The Health Ministry does not recommend using iodine prophylaxis as preventive medicine.
  • Foreign Affairs Ministry recommends against travelling to the Russian Federation due to the ongoing war with Ukraine and the escalation of the current security situation.
  • On March 1 Slovakia started providing temporary protection to people from Ukraine fleeing the war, based on the decision of the cabinet.
  • Police said that they noticed in recent days a higher demand for passports. The demands are especially for expedited passports for children – two or ten working days. The ministry assumes that it is due to events in Ukraine and is calling on the public not to panic or listen to disinformation. “We are asking citizens to follow official sources and not disinformation ones, which aim to create fear and chaos,” the Interior Ministry said.
  • Hungary joined the eight EU countries asking to start accession negotiations with Ukraine, said Foreign Affairs Minister of Hungary Péter Szijjártó. Zuzana Čaputová is among the presidents of the eight countries. The letters were signed by the presidents of Czechia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Slovenia. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky signed a request for Ukraine's membership in the EU on February 28.
  • Police handled more than 12,000 people at the border with Ukraine in the past 24 hours, until March 1, 6:00. Police reported that the current waiting time is between 10 and 35 hours. Since the war started, 54,000 people from Ukraine have crossed the Slovak border.
  • There was an infopoint for refugees established at the Mlynské Nivy bus station in Bratislavam which operates daily between 9:00 and 15:00 on the -1st floor. The station provides information on the spot, including accommodation and transfer options. Information should be accessible in Ukrainian.
  • The Slovak Embassy in Kyiv remains open with four diplomats under the management of Ambassador Marek Šafin. There are 19 people hiding in the embassy, said Foreign Affairs Minister Ivan Korčok; these people are from various countries, including children and journalists. (Sme)
  • Bratislava Old Town decided to impose measures against the Russian Embassy due to the invasion of Ukraine. The municipality cancelled the embassy's parking places and they want to rename Godrova Street as Boris Nemtsov or Anna Politkovskaya Street. The municipality will also no longer inform the embassy about the public gatherings that will take place in front of the building. The Russian Embassy was the only one who had such an advantage.
  • Bratislava public transport is free for Ukrainian citizens. Travellers have to show a passport or other ID when checked on a bus or tram.
  • The transit of Russian gas through Slovakia to the west is more than double despite the Russian invasion. Since Friday, there has been an inflow of more than 80 million of cubic metres of Russian gas per day via Veľké Kapušany.
  • The Foreigners’ Police branches have announced a limitation of operations. Taking into consideration the situation in Ukraine, the police stated that they will deal only with foreigners from Ukraine.
  • Reacting to the situation in Ukraine, Slovak employers are calling for the speedy establishment of an official job portal, where people fleeing the war in Ukraine would have access to vacancies on the Slovak labour market.
  • Not just Ukrainians are fleeing Ukraine. Košice Main Station is full of foreign students trying to get home.
  • EC Commissioner Ylva Johansson paid a visit to Slovakia to learn how the EU can support the country as well as fleeing Ukrainians. She thanked the Slovak people for solidarity.

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Photo of the day

The monument of the Soviet army in Košice changed its appearance during the night. Someone painted the three raised parts yellow and blue, regional daily Košice Korzár wrote. These have been used in recent days to express support for Ukraine.

Feature story for today

“We have 15 Ukrainian doctors; of them 12 are men,” said Marian Petko, director of the Bardejov hospital. “We have no replacement for them."

If they receive military draft notices, the hospital will be unable to secure the operation of trauma surgery, and there will also be a problem covering emergency services.

Head of hospital: We have no replacement for Ukrainian doctors who decide to join the army Read more 

In other news

  • 11,207 people were newly diagnosed as Covid positive out of 21,767 PCR tests performed on Monday. The number of people in hospitals is 2,741 people. 45 more deaths were reported on Monday. The vaccination rate is at 51.22 percent, 2,817,332 people have received the first dose of the vaccine. More stats on Covid-19 in Slovakia here.
  • Russian and Ukrainian entrepreneurs own 3,284 companies in Slovakia. Ukrainians are more active at Slovak market, they own 2,714 companies with volume of basic capital over €40 million. Entrepreneurs from Russia control 1,110 companies in Slovakia with cummulated property exceeding €70 million, said Dun&Bradstreet analyst Petra Štěpánová and added that Ukraine is fifth in the ranking of the most common foreign owners of our companies while Russia is 11th.
  • Slovak employers can start using aid from a new system of Kurzarbeit. It replaces the pandemic First Aid. The state can offer to company that has to limit its activity, offer 60 percent of their average hour salary for employees‘ salary. For year 2022 it means maximum €7.81 per hour, it means about €1,359 per month.

Do not miss on today

Stará Ľubovňa Castle to create a permanent falconry space Read more  BSCs harness Slovakia’s engineering skills, innovation and creativity Read more  Košice steelworks to invest more than €1 billion into modernisation Read more 

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