News digest: Slovakia has sent its S-300 missile defence system to Ukraine

The assassin of Reinhard Heydrich would have turned 110 today, the winning design for Bratislava's war memorial is unveiled, and where to fix your bike in Bratislava.

(Source: / Hej,ty)

Good afternoon. Here is a quick summary of the main news of the day in our Friday, April 8, 2022 edition of Today in Slovakia. Get up to date in less than 5 minutes.

Slovakia sent its S-300 air defence system to Ukraine

Slovakia has sent its S-300 missile defence system to Ukraine.

The secret transfer reportedly took two days, according to the private broadcaster TV Markíza, which first broke the news, as reported on its website.

Prime Minister Eduard Heger (OĽaNO), who is currently on a visit to Kyiv, confirmed the move.

"I would like to confirm that Slovakia has provided Ukraine with an air-defence system S-300. Ukrainian nation is bravely defending its sovereign country and us too. It is our duty to help, not to stay put and be ignorant to the loss of human lives under Russia’s aggression," Heger wrote on Twitter.

He stated that this decision does not mean Slovakia has joined the armed conflict in Ukraine, and said that the defence of Slovakia will be secured.

Defence Minister Jaroslav Naď (OĽaNO) later added that the USA would send another Patriot missile-defence array to Slovakia, which will be added to an existing Patriot system that has already been provided by Germany and the Netherlands.

Bratislava’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier memorial will have the shape of a levitating circle

Bratislava’s Old Town borough has published the winning design for the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier memorial to be built on Rázusovo Embankment. The memorial will have the shape of a levitating circle, symbolising a shield falling or leaning on the ground, complemented by a motif of eternal fire, a ray of light at night. The author of the winning design is sculptor Marek Kvetán. The memorial, which will act as a site of homage to war victims, should be completed by September.

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“The circle is a reference to the grave, to the end of life,” said Kvetán, as quoted by the TASR newswire. “It also bears military symbolism, as the circle is like a shield and the effect of a beam, or a flame, is like a sword.”

Ukrainian refugees in Slovakia

  • A total of 2,878 people entered Slovakia from Ukraine on Thursday, April 7, including 693 men, 1,466 women and 719 children. Of the total, 722 applied for temporary refuge in the country. Slovakia has recorded 311,332 refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine since the war began. Almost 64,000 of them have applied for temporary refuge in Slovakia since March 1.
  • A large-capacity assistance centre for people fleeing Ukraine opened in Žilina on Friday, April 8. It provides complete assistance to refugees, from temporary protection status through to information from the Employment Office, Migration Office and Foreigners’ Police. In can process up to 1,200 people a day.
  • Ukrainian students started a Slovak language course at the University of Economics in Bratislava on Friday, April 8. The course is provided in cooperation with the iCan language school. Students should master the Slovak language to the level of A2 to B1, which means understanding common topics at school or in personal life, by mid June.
  • The Bratislava Self-Governing Region (BSK), in response to the Ukrainian refugee crisis, is launching first-contact medical care for Ukrainian refugees from Monday, April 11. A general practitioner and a paediatric doctor will be located in the health centre at Zrkadlový Háj, Rovniankova 1 in Petržalka, Bratislava.

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Picture of the Day

Feature story for today

“I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my bike” sings Freddie Mercury with his unmistakable voice in the song "Bicycle Race" by the band Queen. But what to do if your bike has a flat tyre or needs to have its brakes checked after the winter break? There are several ways to deal with this in Bratislava. A biker can either take their bicycle to a specialised service to get it fixed for a fee, or head to self-help workshops. Bike enthusiasts are eager to teach people how to fix and maintain their bikes.

The oldest self-service bicycle repair shop in Bratislava has been operating on the Petržalka side of the Danube in the car park next to the Old Bridge since 2011. A group of enthusiasts founded the Cyklokuchyňa (Bike Kitchen) and continues to operate it for a simple reason – they want more people to use bicycles to get around the city.

“We think it's one of the best sustainable modes of transport in the city,” Samuel Dudlák from Cyklokuchyňa told The Slovak Spectator.

Where to fix a bike on your own in Bratislava Read more 

Anniversay of the day

Slovak Jozef Gabčík, who together with his Czech compatriot Jan Kubiš assassinated Reinhard Heydrich, the third most influential man in the Third Reich, during Operation Anthropoid in 1942, was born on April 8, 1912, in Poluvsie (near Prievidza).

In other news

  • Slovak Prime Minister Eduard Heger (OĽaNO) travelled to Kyiv on Thursday evening (April 7), to meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. He accompanied European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Joseph Borell.
  • 3,573 people were newly diagnosed as Covid positive out of 8,910 PCR tests performed on Thursday. The number of people in hospitals with Covid is 1,753. Twenty-three further Covid-related deaths were reported on Thursday. The vaccination rate stands at 51.28 percent. More stats on Covid-19 in Slovakia can be found here.
  • Slovakia's foreign trade in February recorded a negative balance of €259 million. The deficit was chiefly influenced by a high year-on-year volume of imports and thus a growing trade deficit in natural gas, oil and chemicals caused by record prices for these commodities, the Statistics Office reported.
  • President Zuzana Čaputová is calling for help for single people, families with several children, and pensioners living alone, as these will be the most affected by inflation and need help through a regular financial allowance. A family of four is paying about €50 a month more for food and energy compared to last year.
  • Volkswagen Slovakia, the oldest and biggest carmaker in Slovakia, will resume production in all segments on Monday, April 11. The factory has halted its production lines for the whole this week.
  • Production lines at Nitra-based carmaker Jaguar Land Rover Slovakia will be halted next week.

  • A total of 211 applicants for entry into the Armed Forces of the Slovak Republic have started basic training. The Slovak army has opened basic military training for the second time this year.

Do not miss on today

Jewellery maker breathes new life into Slovak folk designs Read more  Ukraine war shatters confidence in Russian gas flows Read more  Can the new Spiš cycling route become a success? Read more  Young HR professional: Building corporate culture and making workers feel good Read more  They reached popularity with ads starring hamsters, now Dedoles lays off hundreds Read more 

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