WARSAW, Poland — Slovak President Zuzana Čaputová has sworn in a new government led by Prime Minister Robert Fico, a populist leader who campaigned on a pro-Moscow platform. One of the politician’s electoral slogans was “Not a single round” for neighboring Ukraine, as Fico declares he will terminate his country’s military support to Kyiv.
On Sept. 30, Fico’s left-wing Direction – Social Democracy party won the nation’s parliamentary election, paving the way for a coalition government headed by the three-time prime minister. After being sworn in on Oct. 25, the new Cabinet has 30 days to obtain the parliament’s vote of confidence. As the coalition partners control a total of 79 of the 150 seats in the unicameral National Council, Fico’s government will most likely secure the necessary votes.
Since Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Slovakia has intensified its military cooperation with Ukraine. For example, Bratislava donated its Soviet-era S-300 air defense system and Mikoyan MiG-29 fighter jets to Kyiv. However, under Fico’s rule, Slovakia will most likely leave the ranks of Ukraine’s staunch supporters among NATO members.
Meanwhile, it is unclear how the new Cabinet will approach some of the latest decisions taken by its predecessor. Earlier this month, the Slovak ministry of defense announced it was authorized by the country’s outgoing government to launch negotiations on purchasing the Barak MX air defense system from Israel as well as the Piorun weapon, a short-range, man-portable air defense system, from Poland.
Under the plan, Slovakia is to acquire one Barak MX system, and 36 Piorun systems. The two potential contracts are estimated to be worth close to €194 million ($205 million), the statement said.
Jaroslaw Adamowski is the Poland correspondent for Defense News.