Slovakia’s newly elected Prime Minister Robert Fico pledged on Thursday to stop delivering weapons to Ukraine, just one day after taking office.
The prime minister told lawmakers that Slovakia would “no longer supply weapons to Ukraine” and would only send humanitarian aid to Kyiv, according to French newswire AFP.
“I will support zero military aid to Ukraine … An immediate halt to military operations is the best solution we have for Ukraine,” said Fico, who has had a fractious relationship with Ukraine going back over a decade. “The EU should change from an arms supplier to a peacemaker,” he added.
Fico, who heads the leftist-populist Smer party, emerged as the clear winner in Slovakia’s general election in September, and was sworn in Wednesday as the head of a coalition government with the rightist-populist SNS party and the social-democratic Hlas party.
Stopping arms deliveries to Ukraine — along with resisting further European sanctions against Russia — were among Fico’s top campaign promises.
Following Fico’s victory, Slovakia’s caretaker government had announced earlier this month the country would not send any further military aid to Ukraine.
Under the previous center-right government, Slovakia — which shares a border with Ukraine — had sent several arms packages to Kyiv, including an S-300 air defense system and old MiG-29 fighter jets.
Fico’s agenda sent shudders through Brussels, with the Party of European Socialists quickly moving to suspend both Fico’s Smer and his coalition partner Hlas after the two parties announced they would form a government.
The new prime minister is set to attend his first summit of European leaders in Brussels Thursday and Friday, amid worries that he will team up with Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and threaten the bloc’s unity on Ukraine and Russia.