News digest: People to rally in support of Ukraine, hear Zelensky speak live

No changes in radiation levels following Russian attack on atomic plant; former special prosecutor Dušan Kováčik is released from custody.

(Source: / Hej,ty)

Good afternoon. Here is a quick summary of the main news of the day in our Friday, March 4, 2022 edition of Today in Slovakia.

Construction industry expects to lose 5,000 Ukrainian workers due to war

The Slovak construction sector is anticipating a significant hit as many of the Ukrainian workers it employs return to their home country. In addition, further increases in the prices of some building materials, especially steel and petroleum products, can be expected as a result of the war in Ukraine, industry watchers say.

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The performance of the local construction industry may decline due to the relatively high proportion of Ukrainian workers it employs in Slovakia. Pavol Kováčik, president of the Slovak Association of Construction Entrepreneurs (ZSPS) assumes that this may concern as many as 5,000 – or half – of the Ukrainian citizens currently working in the construction sector in Slovakia.

“Some of them have quit to help their families evacuate from Ukraine, some are returning to Ukraine mainly to participate in defending their country,” said Kováčik, as quoted by the SITA newswire.

More on the war in Ukraine

  • A protest under the banner Peace for Ukraine will take place on SNP Square in Bratislava at 17:00 on Friday, with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky joining via video link at 18:00 in a live appearance for several European cities at once, one of the organisers, Katarina Zagorski, told the TASR newswire. Several public figures will deliver speeches at the Bratislava protest, including Prime Minister Eduard Heger, popular actor Richard Stanke, writer Silvester Lavrík, emeritus archbishop Róbert Bezák and political analyst Alexander Duleba. Protests will also be held in Prague, Frankfurt, Lyon, Tbilisi, Vienna and other cities.
  • No changes in radiation levels have been recorded in the area of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant – or in this country – Slovakia's Nuclear Supervision Authority (ÚJD) has said, according to the TASR newswire, adding that it has been constantly monitoring the situation. A building at Europe's biggest nuclear plant was destroyed amid fighting on Thursday night.
  • As of Thursday, March 2, in addition to thousands of Ukrainians, a total of 210 Russian nationals have crossed the Slovak-Ukrainian border since the conflict in Ukraine broke out, the Interior Ministry confirmed to the TASR newswire on Friday, adding that the number of all nationalities crossing the eastern border has increased. The ministry specified that they were Russian citizens who were already in Ukraine before the conflict broke out. As of 6:00 on Thursday, a total of 79,059 foreign nationals had entered Slovakia since the war in Ukraine began. Most were Ukrainians, but some 10,000 were nationals of other countries.
  • The cabinet, at its online session on Thursday, gave the green light to new conditions for NATO flights through Slovak airspace. The new permit allows overflights to support NATO‘s collective defence operations, peacekeeping and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area, and humanitarian missions. They are also allowed for the purpose of exercises in Slovakia’s airspace and the transportation of delegations and material, and to allow repairs and in-flight refuelling over the territory of Slovakia. The new conditions also apply to Partnership for Peace countries, with the exception of Russia and Belarus.
  • Slovakia will donate military equipment worth €6.27 million to help Ukraine, according to a resolution adopted by the cabinet at its meeting on Thursday evening.
  • Activities related to the influx of refugees from Ukraine will be coordinated by a supra-ministerial working group, the formation of which was approved by the central crisis management team on Friday, March 4, Interior Minister Roman Mikulec (OĽaNO) announced. Individual ministries will have representatives among the operational staff in Sobrance, Košice Region, which should operate non-stop.
  • Over 1,200 people fleeing the war in Ukraine have applied for temporary refuge in Slovakia since this status was made available, Interior Minister Mikulec announced.
  • Concerts for Ukraine will take place in Trnava, Prešov, Košice, Banská Bystrica, Žilina and Nitra on Sunday, March 6, to show support and solidarity with Ukraine and its inhabitants.

For more details about the situation in Slovakia in response to Russian invasion, follow our website

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Photo of the day

Today's feature story

Thanh Cuong Nguyen has always been a rebel. As a child in Vietnam, he went to the movies without telling his parents. He then married a Slovak woman without giving his parents a heads-up, and now he is now involved in another “rebellious” act.

The Association of Vietnamese Entrepreneurs in Slovakia, of which the Vietnamese man, now in his early fifties, is a deputy chair, is hoping to convince the Slovak government to grant the country's Vietnamese community official status as an ethnic minority.

“It could help us immensely,” he said.

Related article The Vietnamese campaign for their rights: “We belong here” Read more 

In other news

  • 11,029 people were newly diagnosed as Covid positive out of 19,118 PCR tests performed on Thursday. The number of people in hospitals is 2,554; 20 more deaths were reported on Wednesday. The vaccination rate is at 51.23 percent, 2,817,673 people have received the first dose of the vaccine. More stats on Covid-19 in Slovakia here.
  • Retail turnover increased by 17 percent year-on-year in January 2022, which is the biggest y-o-y increase since January 2019. Growth accelerated to 1.1 percent in December last year. Retail turnover grew in January for the tenth month in a row, the Statistics Office reported.
  • Former special prosecutor Dušan Kováčik was released from custody, following a decision by a Supreme Court senate on Friday, March 4. The court imposed several obligations on him, including wearing a so-called electronic monitoring bracelet. Kováčik was sentenced by the Specialised Criminal Court to 14 years in prison for corruption, among other crimes, last September.
  • After the winter break, the city waste collection company Odvoz a Likvidácia Odpadu (OLO) resumed the collection of garden biowaste in Bratislava on Tuesday, March 1. Collections will continue until November 30.
  • A pond in the popular recreational area Železná Studnička in Bratislava will get new wooden stairs to provide visitors with seating as well as access to the water.

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