Cyprus Mail

Slovak PM sorry for jokingly offering Ukraine territory for Russian vaccine

download (13)
Slovak Prime Minister Igor Matovic

Slovak Prime Minister Igor Matovic apologised on Thursday after jokingly suggesting that Russia take a part of western Ukraine as payment for delivering doses of its Sputnik V vaccine to Slovakia.

Matovic bypassed his cabinet partners to order the Russian vaccine even though it has not yet been approved for use in the European Union, of which Slovakia is a member.

Asked in a radio interview what he had promised Russia in exchange for the vaccine, Matovic jokingly said he had offered “Transcarpathian Ukraine”, referring to the western Ukrainian region bordering Slovakia.

Jokes about territorial integrity are an especially sensitive issue for Ukraine, after Russia annexed its Crimea peninsula in 2014 and has backed armed separatists battling Kyiv’s forces in eastern Ukraine. Russia’s actions triggered EU and U.S. sanctions against Moscow.

Matovic said on Twitter on Thursday that Slovakia’s position on respecting Ukraine’s territorial integrity and maintaining international law was clear.

“I apologise to all Ukrainians for my inappropriate reaction, which could undermine their just efforts,” he said, without elaborating.

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Ukraine would have taken further steps had Slovakia not apologised.

“No one will ever have the right to insult Ukraine with any word or hint that questions its territorial integrity or tries to demonstrate that the fate of Ukraine is being decided somewhere other than Ukraine,” Kuleba told reporters in Kyiv.

“And in this regard, for all our friendship with our Slovak colleagues, our reaction to such actions will not only be tough, but extremely tough.”

Follow the Cyprus Mail on Google News

Related Posts

Hungary can soon ratify Sweden’s Nato bid, PM Orban says

Reuters News Service

Navalny was struck down with ‘sudden death syndrome’, his mother was told at Russian prison

Reuters News Service

Russia says its forces move forward after Ukraine withdraws from Avdiivka

Reuters News Service

Christodoulides ‘appalled’ by Navalny’s death

Nikolaos Prakas

Zelenskiy urges leaders to end arms shortage that is helping Putin

Reuters News Service

At least 340 people detained in Russia at events in memory of Navalny (Update 2)

Reuters News Service