Fico: Sanctions against Russia Ineffective, Let’s Stick to Our Own Truth

Prime Minister Robert Fico (TASR archive)

Bratislava, December 14 (TASR) – Sanctions against Russia have failed to modify the behaviour of Moscow towards Ukraine, said Prime Minister Robert Fico (Smer-SD) at a session of the parliamentary European affairs committee held on Wednesday.

“We’re all making a fuss [out of nothing]. Both states have tasks to meet as far as the Minsk agreements go. Our black and white view is dangerous and wrong. I won’t go against the unity of the EU. Granted, I’ll fight for our own interests, but I won’t undermine the unity of the Union. However, I will make use of every opportunity to say out loud at the Council of the EU that I’m against sanctions that are senseless,” underlined Fico.

Fico claimed that Russia has its own problem with Ukraine, “where we said quite openly that international law was breached” [by the annexation of Crimea – ed.note]. “In the same open manner, I’m willing to say at any time that the war in Iraq was invented [in terms of pretexts for starting it – ed.note], say that I’ve never agreed with the [1999 NATO] bombardment of Belgrade in which thousands of people were killed and that I don’t agree with recognising Kosovo. Our stances on these issues are consistent,” said the prime minister.

Fico can’t understand why Slovakia has to take for granted the fact that sanctions against Russia are detrimental to the Slovak economy and that bilateral trade is declining. “We have the right to comment on these things partly because, unlike some others, we actually deliver real aid to Ukraine. Let’s stick to our own truth and own perspective. Our foreign affairs have consistency,” he claimed.

French President Francois Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed on Tuesday (December 13) to prolong sanctions imposed on Russia if the Minsk peace protocols on defusing the crisis in eastern Ukraine aren’t complied with.

According to diplomatic sources, at the summit slated to take place in Brussels on December 15 the EU will elect to prolong economic sanctions against Russia over the 2014 annexation of Crimea and Moscow’s support for pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.