‘I’ve had enough of what Volodymyr Zelensky is doing’ – Former Slovak PM slams government support of EU sanctions on Russia

In this Sunday, March 6, 2016, file photo, Robert Fico, the then chairman of the SMER-Social Democracy, smiles after a TV debate after Slovakia's general elections in Bratislava, Slovakia. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek, File)
By Thomas Brooke
3 Min Read

The former Slovak prime minister, Robert Fico, has criticized the current government’s support of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, and believes that the sanctions imposed on Russia are predominantly to blame for gas and oil shortages in Europe this winter.

In a discussion program on Slovak news channel, TA3, Fico questioned the effectiveness of the sanctions that have mostly affected Central and Eastern Europe, with Slovakia being one of the hardest hit nations.

“I’ve had enough of what Volodymyr Zelensky is doing,” the former Slovak premier told the news channel, reiterating his long-held disapproval of the Ukrainian president, an opinion he has held since the beginning of the Russian invasion.

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Fico blamed the current government’s decision to rubber stamp Brussels’ sanctions on Russia for the fact there will be a shortage of gas and oil this winter; he further claimed the cost of living crisis, which has seen inflation skyrocket in the country, is due to the punitive measures placed on Russia by the European Union.

The SMER-SD leader famously walked out of the Slovak parliament back in May as Zelensky addressed the country’s lawmakers. Fico accused the Ukrainian president of “lying on a daily basis” about the conflict and of “harming the interests of Slovakia.”

Fico, known as a conservative populist, was closely aligned with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán during his term leading Slovakia. Since his fall from power, the country has sharply shifted to a transatlantic posture, including allowing for the construction of a U.S. military base, a move that polling shows is opposed by the majority of Slovakians.

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Fico has previously called for Slovakia to cease providing aid to its neighbor, insisting that “Ukrainians never helped us.” Back in May he said, “Ukraine blatantly lied to us in 2009 when we needed gas, and the government of Julia Timoshenko did nothing.”

FIco has been joined by a range of other European conservatives calling for an end to sanctions against Russia. Notably, Marine Le Pen, who has gained new powers for her National Rally party in France after scoring over 80 parliamentary seats, has called for an end to sanctions, describing them as “strictly useless.”

In July, Orbán said that sanctions against Russia have left Europe in a precarious position.

“At first, I thought we just shot ourselves in the foot, but now it seems that the European economy shot itself in the lung, and that’s why it is now gasping for air.”

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