News digest: Slovakia to get US fighter jets a year late

President Zelensky thanks Slovakia. Foreigners Police go 24/7. Learn more in today's digest.

(Source: / Hej,ty)

Good evening. The Thursday, March 10 edition of Today in Slovakia is ready, giving you the main news of the day in under five minutes.

Foreigners Police only dealing with refugees

Slovakia's Foreigners Police have announced they are closed to anyone but refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine.

The decision, taken last week after a mass influx of people from Ukraine, means a shift in their operations with branches open 24/7 for refugees and their families, and providing refreshment to those applying for temporary protection.

The Foreigners Police have cancelled all appointments booked through their system for non-Ukrainian foreigners, but have promised to let those affected know when they can book a new appointment.

“We are also preparing an amendment to the law on the residence of foreigners that will prolong their stay if they aren’t able to submit an application to renew their stay due to the restriction on services for foreigners at our workplaces,” Denisa Bárdyová, spokesperson of the Police Corps Presidium, said.

Arrival of US fighter jets delayed

F-16 fighter jets bought from the US by the previous government in 2018 will be supplied to the country a year late, the Defence Ministry informed. Their expected arrival is 2024.

The ministry has received an official statement from the US government that the arrival of 14 jets will be delayed by 12 to 14 months. The ministry said the delay was down to the Covid-19 pandemic and a global shortage of microchips.

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Slovakia's airforce currently used Russian MiG-29 fighter jets. After Russia invaded Ukraine, Slovak Defence Minister Jaroslav Naď said that Slovakia will attempt to ground the fighter jets earlier than a planned 2023 deadline and send Russian technicians servicing them home.

The ministry said Slovakia's airspace would remain secured despite the delay.

More on the war in Ukraine

  • Police warn against hoaxes about the shelling of Ukrainian city Mariupol and a local maternity hospital on March 9. The aim of the hoax is to cast doubt on the shelling and number of victims.
  • Slovak President Zuzana Čaputová spoke to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. She said Zelensky repeatedly thanked Slovakia for helping his country, sending aid and showing solidarity with Ukrainian families seeking shelter in Slovakia. "Zuzana, we fight as much as we can. We know what help is coming from Slovakia, you are our important and reliable friends," Čaputová said Zelensky has told her.
  • First two Slovaks officially ask to join army in Ukraine. It is not clear whether the pair will actually get to fight though, since the application process is lengthy and difficult, and its result uncertain.
  • A special train arrived at Bratislava Main Station this morning. It was dispatched from Košice with 300 refugees from Ukraine on board seeking temporary protection in Slovakia.
  • There will be no siren test this Friday, the Interior Ministry has said. The ministry made the decision because of the situation in Ukraine.
  • Police have warned of fraudsters trying to take advantage of the situation in Ukraine. They have advised people to be wary of e-mails from anonymous senders pretending to organise financial collections for Ukraine.
  • More than a thousand refugees from Ukraine have been given shelter in a temporary camp in Humenné. But the number of refugees changes all the time with people constantly arriving and leaving.
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Photo of the day

Ten years have passed since the fire in Krásna Hôrka castle. It has been closed and undergone reconstruction in that time. Some parts of the castle are expected to open in 2023.

Feature story for today

When the war in Ukraine started, Renáta Papcunová could not just sit at home and watch the news. The Slovak native, who lives with her family in the UK, says she had to travel to Slovakia to help people fleeing Putin's war in Ukraine.

It was not her first experience volunteering and her husband knew that with the war raging and people on the move, she would not be able to stay at home.

“I told him: we need to talk. He replied: so when are you leaving?” Papcunová said.

Volunteer at the border: Coordination shortage, uncertainty is the worst for refugees Read more 

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In other news

  • 12,066 people were newly diagnosed as Covid positive out of 20,595 PCR tests performed on Wednesday. The number of people in hospitals with Covid is 2,454 . 31 more deaths were reported on Wednesday. The vaccination rate stands at 51.24 percent, with 2,818,127 people having received a first dose of a vaccine. More stats on Covid-19 in Slovakia here.
  • Green Energy Holding, which has Slovak and Austrian owners, plans to build a wind park near Skalica. Six wind power plants near the villages of Letničie and Petrova Ves would generate an output of 5 to 7 MW.
  • Construction company output stood at €283.8 million in January this year, up 0.3 percent y-o-y. Construction work conducted in Slovakia, which accounts for 87.2 percent of the country's total construction output, ticked down 6.7 percent y-o-y in the first month of this year.
  • Industrial production posted y-o-y growth for the third month in a row, but slowed 3.1 percent in January 2022 . Last year in the same period it dropped 3.8 percent.
  • German company Rheinmetall plans to to invest €30 million in construction of a new plant in Moldava nad Bodvou producing chassis and towers for Lynx vehicles. Production will cover an area of 12,000 square meters and test facilities 15,000 square meters.
  • Information about the preparation of the final expert report in the event of the death of Slovak Jozef Chovanec after his arrest at Charleroi airport in Belgium is not true, the Justice Ministry said, adding that the investigation into the death of a Slovak citizen has not been completed.
  • An appeal trial with Marian Kotleba, MP and chair of far-right People’s Party Our Slovakia (ĽSNS), will take place on April 5. It should have originally taken place on March 8, but the court cancelled the hearing.

One last note: Slovakia expects a very cold night, the Slovak Hydrometeorological Institute has warned. Temperatures will fall to between -6 and -13 Celsius degrees, and in some parts of northern Slovakia dipping as low as -13 to -19 Celsius degrees.

Do not miss on today

Related article Fico warned of heavily-armed American soldiers. Here's what Saber Strike 22 really looks like Read more  Slovakia launches administration of the Novavax vaccine Read more  A new lookout tower pops up in the Orava region Read more 

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