President: Russia's Action in Ukraine Is Military Aggression and Occupation

President: Russia's Action in Ukraine Is Military Aggression and Occupation

Bratislava, February 22 (TASR) – President Zuzana Caputova issued a statement on Tuesday, describing the Russian Army’s action in Ukraine as an act of military aggression and occupation.

According to Caputova, it was a planned, deliberate, unprovoked and unjustifiable violation of international law and territorial integrity by Russia towards Ukraine, which Slovakia strongly condemns.

The president declared support for all steps to be taken within the European Union and NATO in this regard, including necessary sanctions.

According to the president, Ukraine had no real chance to prevent the current developments. “It would have to remain forever in the sphere of influence of Russia, which, according to the words of President [Vladimir] Putin, does not recognise its right to exist anyway. We as a sovereign country would never have taken such a step, and no one can expect or demand it from Ukraine, either,” stated Caputova.

The president praised that Ukraine has responded to the massive increase in Russia’s military presence on its borders in recent months, as well as to provocations and Russia’s latest military aggression in a calm and diplomatic manner. She justifies it by saying that Ukraine, like the entire Euro-Atlantic community, wishes peace. “We view peace as the highest value, we will strive for it and insist on a diplomatic solution to the situation. We recognise Ukraine’s territorial integrity and its right to freely choose where it wants to belong,” stated the head of the state.

Caputova finds the persistent demand of the Russian president that the security guarantees of the Central and Eastern European countries, including Slovakia, should return before 1997, to be unacceptable for Slovakia, as well as for the remaining Central and Eastern European countries. “In fact, NATO would thus stop guaranteeing our security,” noted the president.

According to the head of the state, we have been observing a significant increase in Russia’s hybrid activities in Slovakia. “These include the spread of disinformation and hoaxes, such as the one about the alleged general mobilisation in Slovakia. The aim of these activities is clear – to destabilise the situation in Slovakia, to distance us from our allies and to bring us closer to the Russian sphere of influence,” stated the president. She spoke about the threat to Slovakia’s security and the need to approach these activities accordingly.

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on Monday (February 21) that he’s decided to recognise the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic as independent countries, calling it a necessary move. Leaders of France, Germany and the United States have called Putin’s decision a “clear violation of the Minsk peace agreements”, adding it will not be left unanswered.