News digest: Slovakia will not back Russian oil embargo

Slovakia improves its position in a press freedom index. Ukrainian military vehicles will be repaired in Moldava nad Bodvou.


Good evening. The Tuesday, May 3 edition of Today in Slovakia is ready with the main news of the day in less than five minutes.

Slovakia’s no to Russian energy sanctions

Slovakia and Hungary refuse to back new sanctions targeted at Russia’s energy industry, which the European Union is putting together. A gradual embargo on Russian oil is being debated.

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Both countries, which neighbour Ukraine, say they are heavily dependent on Russian energy supplies, and they have no immediate replacements for them. Russian oil flows to Slovakia through the Druzhba oil pipeline.

It is not yet clear whether the new sanctions will in fact include Russian oil, or whether the two Central European countries will be allowed to refuse some of the sanctions. However, according to diplomats cited by Reuters, Slovakia and Hungary could be offered an exemption or longer transition period.

Slovakia’s Economy Minister Richard Sulík said that the only Slovak refinery, Slovnaft, could not switch from Russian oil to another type of oil overnight. He added that it would take several years.

“So we will insist on the exemption, for sure,” Sulík told the media, as quoted by the AP newswire.

Related: Slovakia could last until autumn without Russian gas. What are its options?

Energy: The number of solar energy consumers is increasing in Slovakia, the Population and Housing Census 2021.

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Ukrainian military vehicles to be repaired in Moldava

Konštrukta-Defence, a Slovak state enterprise, has struck a deal with Ukraine and will service the country’s armoured vehicles.

The Slovak Defence Ministry did not say how many vehicles would be repaired in Moldava nad Bodvou, where the firm repair centre is based.

Slovakia has thus joined the Czech Republic, which will repair Ukrainian tanks. Ukraine recently approached Bulgaria with a similar request as well.

Slovak Defence Minister Jaroslav Naď mentioned a commercial cooperation that could involve the servicing of Ukrainian military equipment by Slovak defence industry firms for the first time back in early April.

So far, the Slovak government has provided humanitarian and military assistance worth of €130 million, including an S-300 air defence system.


  • Slovakia came 27th in the Reporters Without Borders’s press freedom ranking, up by eight places. To mark World Press Freedom Day, independent media outlets in Central Europe published a statement. Read it here.
  • As many as 2,652 Ukrainian refugees arrived in Slovakia through the Slovak-Ukrainian border on May 2. A total of 450 refugees applied for temporary protection on that day.
  • The Banská Bystrica Region, central Slovakia, has opened a Ukrainian-Slovak call centre for the refugees who want to settle in the region. A new website has been launched. Slovak language classes are available as well.
  • From May 4, Ukrainian refugees can apply for temporary protection only in four large-capacity centres in Michalovce, Žilina, Nitra and Bratislava. The Humenné centre will not provide this service for now.
  • Slovakia reported 765 new Covid cases and seven Covid deaths on May 2. The number of hospitalised Covid patients fell to 662.
  • The weather in Slovakia on Wednesday, May 4, will be partly cloudy. Showers and storms are expected in the north. The highest daily temperature will reach up to 21°C in most places.

Feature story for Tuesday

How M. R. Štefánik moulded his legend

Slovakia will mark the 103rd anniversary since the tragic death of General Milan Rastislav Štefánik, a Slovak statesman and astronomer who helped establish Czechoslovakia after the First World War.

Štefánik, who travelled the world and became a French citizen, died on May 4, 1919, in a plane crash.

Read the story from our archive on how Milan Rastislav Štefánik quickly learnt what it takes to triumph abroad.

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