Defence Slovakia

Slovak u-turn: Fico gov’t set to allow Ukraine arms sales

| 2024-01-20 < 1 min read

Slovak u-turn: Fico gov’t set to allow Ukraine arms sales

Reading Time: < 1 minute

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico appeared to renege on his election promise to not send “another bullet” to Ukraine on Tuesday, as MPs voted through a government amendment allowing arms exports.

Under the amendment, the Defence Ministry will be able to green-light public and private weapons companies to continue arming Ukraine. Slovak Defence Minister Robert Kalinak now holds an arms export veto for the country.

Arms makers in Fico’s inner circle

Slovakia is one of the EU’s more Russophile electorates, and Fico’s opposition to Ukraine joining NATO and opposition to Russian sanctions were factors in his party Smer’s election victory last year. Fico previously led Slovakia from 2006-10 and 2012-18.

Previous Defence Minister Jaroslav Nad told Politico that Smer oligarchs greatly benefit from selling armaments and weapons to Ukraine, “and it was always clear they were going to continue with their supplies”.

In the first seven months of 2023, arms maker ZVS Holding – owned by the Slovak Defence Ministry via private companies MSM Group and the DMD Group – had revenues of EUR 44mn, almost double the rate of EUR 40mn in the whole of 2022.

Hungarian MP critiques Fico’s visit to Budapest

Hungarian opposition Momentum MP Marton Tompos tweeted “The piquancy in the whole picture is that Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Fico met just three days ago, emphasizing the two countries’ ‘common views’, and highlighting their anti-war and pro-Russian stances, while Fico allowed arms exports. 

“They have apparently formed another ‘veto-coalition’, which was to be expected after Orban supported anti-Hungarian Smer with a big chunk of the Hungarian people’s taxpayer money, only for his own personal interests once more,” he added.