Bratislava, January 12 (TASR) - Sanctions against Russia must be continued as long as that country poses a threat to democratic Europe, acting Foreign Affairs Minister Rastislav Kacer has told TASR.
"Sanctions must be continued not only until Ukraine is free, but as long as Russia poses a threat to democratic Europe. This probably won't be a short-term process; we must also be prepared for a new kind of iron curtain," he said, adding that Slovakia must do its utmost to be on the right side.
According to Kacer, the sanctions could still be toughened. "It might be further economic sanctions, it could be an embargo on other people, it might be another freezing of Russian assets, but first of all an economic blockade of a kind that would prevent Russia from obtaining technologies that would allow it to produce lethal weapons, or technologies that could further fuel this conflict," said the acting minister.
Kacer views it as important to keep cutting off any remnants of economic dependence on Russia. "This means completely diversifying sources of oil, gas and nuclear energy. Russia must stay isolated in that," he said, adding that Slovakia might be independent in all strategic resources in one or two years.
The acting minister stated that it's evident Russia isn't giving up, but he called its military achievements doubtful. "I would go as far as to say that Russia is losing a conflict that it started itself," he said.
Kacer noted that Russia is becoming more and more isolated. "Much tougher stances are also gradually being taken up by China and countries that may have appeared more neutral ... only countries like Iran, North Korea and some desperate small dictatorships remain as its allies," he said.
"We need to be prepared for Russia escalating the conflict in 2023. However, I believe that Ukraine with our support will manage to protect its freedom," he added.