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New chapter in relations and unblocking EU aid: What Ukrainian and Slovak PMs agreed upon

New chapter in relations and unblocking EU aid: What Ukrainian and Slovak PMs agreed upon Photo: Prime Minister of Slovakia Robert Fico and Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal (

The meeting between the Ukrainian Prime Minister, Denys Shmyhal, and his Slovak counterpart, Robert Fico, in Uzhhorod has concluded. The parties have reached several agreements, including Slovakia's decision to refrain from blocking EU assistance to Ukraine and the establishment of military-technical cooperation.

The information for this update was sourced from the Joint Statement of the Prime Ministers of Ukraine and the Slovak Republic on the Government Portal, statements by Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal on Telegram, and the briefing broadcast summarizing the meeting.

What the prime ministers of Ukraine and Slovakia agreed upon

The head of the Ukrainian government, Denis Shmyhal, and the Prime Minister of Slovakia, Robert Fico, met today, January 24, in Uzhhorod. The negotiations took place against the backdrop of differences, as Fico had repeatedly mentioned intentions to cease military aid to Ukraine and recently supported Hungary's veto on €50 billion in aid from the EU.

Denis Shmyhal announced that the Ukrainian side intends to form a policy of "new pragmatism" with the Slovak government, which will benefit both countries. At the end of the meeting, he stated the achievement of "specific agreements" between the two nations.

Prime Ministers signed joint statement on bilateral relations, outlining:

  • Slovakia's respect for the sovereignty of Ukraine

  • support for Ukraine's Eurointegration

  • military cooperation

  • assistance in restoration and demining efforts

  • joint efforts to ensure global food security

  • enhancement of transit potential for the export of Ukrainian agricultural products

  • improvement of border control at Ukrainian-Slovak state border crossings

  • cooperation in the fuel and energy complex and nuclear energy sector

  • development of border territories through projects in energy efficiency, alternative fuel usage, decarbonization, and renewable energy

  • strengthening transborder infrastructure to stimulate regional trade

  • the feasibility of establishing a railway passenger line between Kyiv and Košice

More details on the main agreements between the prime ministers of Ukraine and Slovakia, can be found below

Support for Ukraine

In the joint statement, both parties affirmed their readiness for continued cooperation and respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal addressed recent controversial statements by Robert Fico regarding Ukraine having to give up parts of its territory. Shmyhal stated, "The Prime Minister of Slovakia emphasized that he fully supports the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our state. We have, of course, documented this in our joint statement, which was signed during the extensive meeting."

"As well as the issue that Ukraine's victory means security not only for Ukraine but for the whole of Europe, and thus for Slovakia's security. We talked about the atrocities of the Russians, the bombing of civilians, the abduction of Ukrainian children, nuclear blackmail, and the nuclear threat that Russia poses to the entire world," the prime minister emphasized.

Slovakia to support EU assistance to Ukraine

After the talks, Denys Shmyhal said that Slovakia had agreed to support the Ukraine Facility program, which provides for the allocation of 50 billion euros to Ukraine over four years by the European Union.

The decision was reached, although Robert Fico had recently been against providing financial assistance to Ukraine, as well as Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

Ukraine's EU integration

The joint statement of the parties reiterates Slovakia's support for Ukraine's path to EU membership, given the European Council's decision of December 14, 2023, to start accession negotiations.

Given the common border, this provides both countries with the opportunity to develop ties between the eastern regions of Slovakia (Presov and Košice regions) and the western region of Ukraine (Zakarpattia), the document says.

Peace Formula

Denys Shmyhal suggested that the Slovak prime minister consider participating in the implementation of the Ukrainian "peace formula." In particular, in terms of the return of deported Ukrainian children, as well as in terms of nuclear safety.

"We expressed support to the Peace Formula of President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy. We see the incoming Peace Summit in Switzerland as a great opportunity to consider all points of the above-mentioned Peace Formula," the joint statement reads.

Military cooperation

The prime ministers of both countries affirmed the importance of developing military-technical cooperation on a commercial basis.

Denis Shmyhal stated that the Slovak government would not block Ukraine's purchase of weapons and equipment from Slovak businesses.

Additionally, the countries will collaborate on the supply of equipment for constructing defensive lines. Slovak private companies will provide Ukraine with engineering equipment for the construction of defense lines, including armored excavators and demining machines based on the T-72 tank.

"By the way, Slovakia has already decided to supply two Bozena-4 demining machines for the relevant work in the de-occupied part of the Kherson region," announced the Ukrainian Prime Minister.

Ukraine's NATO membership

During the briefing summarizing the meeting, Denys Shmyhal addressed the issue of Ukraine's accession to NATO. He emphasized that regardless of the positions and desires of individual countries, Ukraine has unequivocally set its course towards NATO membership and is moving along this path without alternative. Ukrainian forces are operating with NATO weapons, a new system of security guarantees is being formed for Ukraine, and NATO standards are being implemented at all levels.

"We understand that lasting peace is impossible without this. I am confident that the government of Slovakia also understands this. Ukraine's security is of fundamental importance to NATO's security. Ukraine is an asset to NATO, as the Alliance with Ukraine will be significantly stronger. I am confident that the time will come, and gradually we will convince some skeptics that Ukraine should be in NATO, and everyone in Europe will benefit from it," said Shmyhal.

It is noteworthy that ahead of the meeting in Uzhhorod, Robert Fico stated that Slovakia would block Ukraine's NATO accession, considering it the "foundation of the Third World War."

Assistance in reconstruction

The parties emphasized the importance of Slovakia's participation in the reconstruction of Ukraine. The Slovak Republic's Deputy Prime Minister will be responsible for this direction.

Slovakia will participate in the humanitarian demining process of contaminated areas in Ukraine and the restoration of infrastructure damaged by Russia's full-scale military invasion of Ukraine.

Furthermore, to engage Slovak companies in Ukraine's reconstruction efforts, an agreement was reached to convene a business forum in the first half of 2024. Representatives of states and regions, business associations, and relevant government institutions will participate in this forum.

Fico's statements regarding Ukraine

In November 2023, parliamentary elections were held in Slovakia, resulting in the victory of Robert Fico. The new government supported a political program promising to cease state military aid to Ukraine.

The politician made controversial statements about the situation in Ukraine. Fico referred to the war as a "local conflict" and cynically claimed that life in Kyiv was "absolutely normal" after the Russian shelling on January 23.

His statements also included suggestions that Ukraine would have to cede parts of its territory to Russia to expedite the end of the war. Fico opposed Ukraine's NATO membership and vowed to veto it. Additionally, he supported Hungary's veto on €50 billion in aid from the EU to Ukraine.

Before the meeting in Uzhhorod, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denis Shmyhal expressed hope that talks with the Slovak Prime Minister would open a new chapter in bilateral relations. Shmyhal also stated his intention to discuss potential obstacles to allocating €50 billion to Ukraine from the European Union during the February EU summit with Robert Fico.