EU state’s leader pledges to block Ukraine’s NATO bid

Letting Kiev into the bloc would mean WWIII, Slovakian PM Robert Fico has said

Slovakia will not agree to letting Ukraine become a member of NATO, Prime Minister Robert Fico has said in an interview.

The US-led military bloc stopped short of offering Kiev an actual invitation at the summit hosted by Lithuania in June. The joint communique from the Vilnius meeting said only that NATO would be in position to offer membership “when allies agree and conditions are met.”

“We will not agree with Ukraine’s membership in NATO, because that would be the start of World War III,” Fico said on Tuesday evening, in an interview to the Slovak outlet InfoVojna.

“As long as I have the opportunity to influence the Slovak political scene, I will use the right to veto such a decision,” he added.

The Ukrainian government has made NATO membership a policy since 2018. Russia has repeatedly warned that such a step would endanger its national security, and has named Ukrainian neutrality as one of the objectives of the military operation that began in February 2022.

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Fico, a social democrat, has previously held power in Bratislava from 2006 to 2010 and from 2012 to 2018. He became prime minister again in October, at the head of a three-party coalition government.

He quickly reversed the policies of his predecessor when it came to Ukraine, halting the deliveries of free weapons to Kiev and urging for a peaceful solution of the conflict with Russia. Fico has also criticized as destructive the EU policies of supporting Ukraine, sanctioning Russia and adopting “fanatical” environmentalist standards.

Slovakia is not opposed to Ukraine’s EU membership in principle, Fico also told InfoVojna, but noted that this is a process that would take years as Kiev would need to satisfy rather stringent standards set forth by Brussels.

Unlike the neighboring Czech Republic, Slovakia also does not intend to seize real estate owned by the Russian government, Fico has said.

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