Cooperation in the defence sector and support for Ukraine's European integration aspirations - Ukraine and Slovakia have agreed to continue close cooperation. This was announced by Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal following a meeting with Prime Minister Robert Fico in Uzhhorod on 24 January 2024.
Denys Shmyhal announced about signing an agreement under which the Government of Slovakia would not block Ukraine's purchase of weapons and equipment from Slovak businesses.
"This means that our cooperation on weapons for Ukraine will continue on a commercial basis. There are a number of prospects here. Ukrainian and Slovak defence companies already jointly produce certain types of military equipment in Slovakia. We will scale this up. In addition, we want to expand the work of the repair base for military equipment," the Prime Minister of Ukraine said.
In addition, an agreement was reached to cooperate on the supply of engineering equipment from Slovak companies that Ukraine needs to build its defensive borders. This could include armoured excavators and demining machines on the T-72 tank chassis. By the way, Slovakia has already decided to supply two Bozena-4 demining machines for the relevant work in the de-occupied part of Kherson region.
Support for Ukraine was an important aspect of the talks. Thus, according to Denys Shmyhal, Slovakia will support the Ukraine Facility programme, which provides for the allocation of EUR 50 billion to Ukraine by the EU.
"EUR 38 billion is intended for four-year budget support for our country. Another EUR 8 billion is earmarked for investment purposes and the implementation of relevant projects. And here we talked about our principle 'United in defence - united in recovery'. We invite Slovak business to participate in the restoration of Ukraine, in particular through the competitive instruments of the Ukraine Facility," the Head of Government noted.
In addition, Slovakia supports Ukraine's European integration aspirations. Denys Shmyhal noted that Ukraine hoped for the same support in the future, so that this year we can start moving towards a concrete negotiation framework with the EU.
"Despite certain political misunderstanding, we are shaping a policy of 'new pragmatism' in relations with many European countries. I am confident that Ukraine and Slovakia will continue fruitful cooperation for the sake of security and prosperity of our countries," said Denys Shmyhal.