Fico Requests Information on Slovak Army's Combat Ability
Bratislava, October 13 (TASR) – Opposition Smer-SD party leader Robert Fico wants information on the amount of military equipment that Slovakia has sent to Ukraine.
“Exporting the Slovak army’s ammunition and weaponry to Ukraine, as well as what has occurred in relation to the foreign Patriot missile defence batteries placed in Slovakia, raise serious suspicions of a deliberate reduction in the combat ability of the Slovak armed forces,” said Fico. He spoke about enormous exports of weapons and ammunition and wants President Zuzana Caputova as commander-in-chief of the Slovak armed forces to provide information on the amount and types of ammunition, number of infantry combat vehicles, tanks, self-propelled howitzers and other weapon systems supplied to Ukraine.
Fico asked how much military equipment the Slovak army has left and how the donated equipment has been replaced. He views information on the withdrawal of Patriot batteries from Slovakia as serious and claimed that after donating the S-300 missile defence system to Ukraine, Slovakia is dependent on the good will of the USA and other western countries.
Premier Eduard Heger called Fico’s statements lies. “In addition to the fact that our defence is still in the best condition, our allies will promptly help us if Slovak citizens are threatened, as was the case in the spring of this year. Let’s not forget that we are part of the biggest defence alliance, which will not leave its members at the mercy of security threats, as together we are stronger,” stressed the premier.
Heger claimed that neither a reduction in the number of Dutch soldiers deployed in Slovakia, nor the withdrawal of one Patriot system battery from Slovakia have changed anything in terms of Slovakia’s defence ability. “It is just a natural part of an evaluation of the current security situation and the adoption of other measures in Slovakia,” he explained.
The premier pointed to the fact that the obsolete S-300 system has been replaced by modern Patriot systems from the allies and that the US Congress has approved a €200-million grant for modernising the Slovak army. He highlighted several defence purchases and pointed to the protection of Slovakia’s air space by modern fighter jets from the Czech Republic and Poland.
Defence Minister Jaroslav Nad reacted to Fico’s statements in a similar fashion. He pointed to the strengthening of Slovakia’s defence and stated that the country hasn’t yet donated any howitzers or tanks to Ukraine. The Slovak defence industry even managed to sell Zuzana howitzers to Ukraine, he said, referring to a huge success for the Slovak defence industry.