President Putin Assures Slovakia Russia Bears No Ill Will Towards its Interests

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Slovak Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini (L) and Russian President Vladimir Putin at their meeting in St. Petersburg on June 6, 2019 (photo by TASR)

St. Petersburg/Bratislava, June 6 (TASR-corespondent) – Talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin were quite pragmatic, detail-specific and not laced with diplomatic platitudes, Slovak Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini assessed this way his meeting with the Russian President in St. Petersburg on Thursday.

“The President was familiar, down to the most minute details, with all projects of co-operation between Russia and Slovakia. We went over quite granular details, such as the connection of Slovakia to the potential future Nord Stream 2 (pipeline), the connection of Slovakia to Turkish Stream in the south, gas storage, as well as repairs and maintenance of our fighter aircraft. And, of course, we discussed the activities of an MP in the Russian Duma, concerning the events of 1968,” stated Pellegrini.

The latter mention alludes to a resolution passed on May 30 at a roundtable organised by a communist faction, which urges the Russian Duma to confer veteran status on members of the Soviet Union’s Armed Forces, who occupied Czechoslovakia in 1968.

The Slovak Prime Minister added that he received assurances from both Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev that the legislative effort is nothing but an individual activity of the opposition MP, which in no way, shape or form changes the official stance of the Russian Government on the 1968 invasion of erstwhile Czechoslovakia.

The same message was conveyed to chief of Slovak diplomacy Minister Miroslav Lajcak also by his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov earlier in the day.

President Putin also confirmed that previous agreements on Russian gas flows will stay in effect. “We discussed rather intensively the potential ramifications that a gas crisis might have for Slovakia. President Putin assured us that the Russian Federation harbours no willingness to damage the interests of the Slovak Republic,” claimed Pellegrini, adding that Slovakia is preparing for a potential launch of the Nord Stream 2 project.

Also broached was the lack of teachers of Russian in Slovakia. Pellegrini intends to allocate more resources for internships of Russian teachers at Slovak schools, due to the growing interest in Russian among Slovaks.