Matovic Apologises to Ukraine for Joke about Zakarpattia

Matovic Apologises to Ukraine for Joke about Zakarpattia

Bratislava, March 4 (TASR) – Prime Minister Igor Matovic (OLaNO) on Twitter on Thursday apologised for his recent statement about the Zakarpattia region, admitting that it was improper.

“Slovakia’s stance on Ukraine’s territorial integrity has always been very clear. Observing international law is essential. I apologise to all Ukrainians for my improper reaction that could have undermined their justified efforts,” wrote the premier.

Matovic, when asked on Tuesday by an anchor of Radio Expres whether he perhaps promised something to Russia in return for purchasing the Sputnik V vaccine, said in a joking manner: “Zakarpattia”. He shortly afterwards added: “I didn’t promise anything … I was just attempting to secure a vaccine.”

The Ukrainian Foreign Affairs Ministry on Wednesday evening summoned the Slovak charge d’affaires to Ukraine to protest against the improper statement, asking the Slovak premier for an official apology.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian Ambassador to Slovakia Yuri Mushka handed a demarche to the Slovak Foreign Affairs Ministry.

Zakarpattia is a region that belonged to Czechoslovakia before the Second World War. It became part of the Soviet Union after the war and has belonged to the independent Ukraine since 1991.