News digest: Police detain controversial ex-Supreme Court judge

President Zuzana Čaputová will meet with her Ukrainian counterpart. No Covid-19 tests or proof of vaccination needed in Austria.

(Source: / Hej,ty)

Good evening. The Monday, May 16 edition of Today in Slovakia is ready with the main news of the day in less than five minutes.

Čaputová to pack for Kyiv

President Zuzana Čaputová was absent when Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky addressed Slovak MPs via teleconference last week. She said she was preparing for a meeting with the Polish President the following day.

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Čaputová is now preparing to meet her Ukrainian counterpart in person. Zelensky invited her during a joint phone call last Thursday. They have had several calls.

"The president gladly accepts the invitation to visit Kyiv, as it would mean another way of expressing support for Ukraine," said president spokesperson Martin Strižinec.

Refugees: On Sunday, May 15, 2,833 Ukrainian people crossed the border crossings at the Slovak-Ukrainian border to enter Slovakia.

Ukrainians blocking Slovak crossing

The lines of used cars as long as several kilometres are blocking the Ubľa crossing at the Slovak border with Ukraine.

Mostly Ukrainian drivers can spend up to several days waiting to enter their homeland. The reason for the congestion is the abolition of duties and taxes on car imports to Ukraine by the Ukrainian parliament.

Prime Minister Eduard Heger's advisor on Ukraine, Eduard Buraš, said last week that border crossings in Romania and Hungary would open and Ukrainians driving to the Slovak border would be sent there.

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For a deeper insight into current affairs, check out our Last Week in Slovakia piece published earlier today. You can sign up for the newsletter here.


On May 13, Slovakia won its first game at the 2022 world hockey championship, which is held in Finland, but lost its second game against Germany on May 14.


Changes to gender recognition rules prompt hope or distress

In early April this year, Health Minister Vladimír Lengvarský signed and published Slovakia's first comprehensive gender reassignment protocol, establishing guidelines for gender recognition.

The protocol, which is perceived as somewhat ground-breaking by activists, no longer lists surgical sterilisation as a precondition for any change in the legal recognition of someone's gender.

Despite receiving a broad welcome from health professionals and the transgender community, the move has attracted numerous transphobic comments and some conservatives are now calling on Lengvarský to withdraw the document.

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  • The National Crime Agency detained former Supreme Court president and former justice minister Štefan Harabin. Police charged him with the crime of approving a crime as well as an extremist crime.
  • As of Monday, Austria has lifted Covid-19 measures when entering the country. People do not have to show the Covid-19 test results or proof of vaccination. FFP 2 masks remain mandatory on public transport (including train stations and airports), when using taxis and in essential shops.
  • Slovakia's Foreign Affairs Minister Ivan Korčok awarded the Gold Plaque to US Ambassador to Slovakia Bridget Brink for her active contribution to the development of Slovak-American relations. Brink will be leaving Slovakia soon.
  • Police head Štefan Hamran refuted the allegations of the leader of the opposition Smer party, Robert Fico, about him notifying members of the Security Council about a planned police operation targeted at police investigators, judges and prosecutors. Hamran claims he talked about another police operation that had appeared in the media.
  • On Monday, the Specialised Criminal Court sentenced Pavol Vorobjov, an ex-police officer from the Purgatory case, to a two-year prison sentence. He was charged with nine offences. His name is associated with the screenings of journalists.
  • More than 1,200 soldiers are taking part in the Slovak Shield 2022 military exercise. In addition to members of the Slovak Armed Forces, soldiers from Hungary, the US Army in Europe and members of the Indiana National Guard are also taking part. The exercise will last two weeks.
  • More than 20,000 people in Slovakia have died of Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic.
  • Face coverings are no longer mandatory at European airports and on aircraft from May 16.

More on

NEWS How transparent is the region you live in? Read more  OPINION Why come to Slovakia? Read more  NEWS Hotels help refugees with no state aid in sight Read more 

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