Thousands Rally in Slovakia, Protesting Government’s Russia Policy
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By The Smartencyclopedia Staff & Agencies

BRATISLAVA, March 12 – A massive wave of dissent swept through Slovakia’s capital, Bratislava, on Tuesday as thousands of protesters voiced their concerns over the government’s policies, accusing it of drifting too close to Russia and undermining European solidarity.

Critics argue that Prime Minister Robert Fico’s government, in power since last October, has raised alarm by openly criticizing Europe’s military aid to Ukraine and actively seeking to renew cultural and political ties with Russia.

The latest point of contention arose this month when Slovakia’s Foreign Minister, Juraj Blanar, engaged in talks with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, marking a rare high-level encounter between an EU member state and a nation the EU seeks to isolate.

Protest organizer Michal Hvorecky addressed the crowd, emphasizing the impact of Slovakia’s actions on Ukraine: “People in Ukraine hear this every day. I am here because the actions of this government coalition cross all borders,” he declared from a podium adorned with a sign denouncing Russia as a “terrorist state,” flanked by Slovak, Ukrainian, European Union, and NATO flags.

According to estimates by the news website Dennik N, around 5,000 people participated in the demonstration, marking a significant outcry against Fico’s foreign policy.

While Fico has faced opposition-led protests in the past, primarily in response to reforms to criminal codes, this marks the first major protest directed explicitly at his foreign policy decisions.

“I don’t like the direction our prime minister is taking after the elections,” said Roman, a 45-year-old IT professional who joined the protest. “I am disappointed. We are part of the West.”

Defending his government’s stance, Fico emphasized a “balanced and sovereign” foreign policy, stating that there is no military solution to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, which persists more than two years after Russia’s invasion.

Fico has refused to provide military aid to Ukraine, arguing it would only prolong the conflict. However, Ukraine’s Western allies dispute this claim, contending that withholding aid would lead to Ukraine’s defeat rather than fostering diplomatic negotiations.

Foreign Minister Blanar defended his March 2 meeting with Lavrov, stating it came at the request of the Russian side and emphasizing the need for a diplomatic solution.

Despite vocal opposition to sanctions on Russia, Fico has yet to block EU measures or financial aid for Ukraine. In a further sign of discord, the Czech government recently suspended joint meetings with Slovakia’s cabinet, a regular occurrence under past administrations, symbolically signaling their discontent with the shift in foreign policy.

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