Leader of EU state expresses ‘admiration’ for Orban’s Moscow visit

RT, July 5, 2024 — 

The Slovak prime minister said he regrets not being able to join his Hungarian counterpart’s Ukraine peace mission.

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico has made his first public appearance since surviving an assassination attempt, which he blamed on radical elements opposing policies that prioritize Bratislava’s interests over those of major Western powers.

During a public address at Devin Castle near Bratislava on Friday, Fico praised his Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orban’s latest peace initiatives. Orban’s surprise visit to Moscow on Friday to meet President Vladimir Putin and discuss ways to resolve the Ukraine conflict caused outrage among other EU leaders. This visit followed a similarly unannounced trip to Kiev earlier in the week.

“I want to express my admiration for the Hungarian premier for traveling to Kiev and Moscow without hesitating,” Fico told the crowd during his 15-minute speech, which drew a standing ovation.

“There are never enough peace talks and initiatives,” Fico added. “If my state of health allowed me to go, I would have loved to join him.”

The 59-year-old prime minister is still recovering from an assassination attempt on May 15, when a gunman shot him four times at close range. Slovakia’s Special Criminal Court stated that the shooter was largely motivated by Bratislava’s decision not to send weapons to Kiev.

In a video statement last month, the prime minister condemned efforts to downplay the attack and blame it solely on a deranged lone shooter, claiming that “the right to a different opinion has ceased to exist in the EU.”

“It is precisely the conflict in Ukraine that the EU and NATO have elevated, literally sanctifying the concept of a single correct opinion – namely that the war in Ukraine must continue at any cost to weaken the Russian Federation,” he said. “Anyone who does not identify with this mandatory opinion is immediately labeled a Russian agent and politically marginalized internationally.”

Fico returned to power for a fourth term as prime minister after his party, Slovak Social Democracy (SMER-SD), won the country’s parliamentary election last September. He accused the parties that ruled Slovakia from 2020 to 2023 of doing whatever larger Western democracies demanded, including treating Russia and China as “mortal enemies” and “looting” Slovak military stockpiles to provide weapons to Ukraine. Fico’s government halted such aid, raising the ire of NATO powers.

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