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Slovak Political Scientist Explains Why Fico Talks About Sending NATO Troops To Ukraine

Slovak Political Scientist Explains Why Fico Talks About Sending NATO Troops To Ukraine

There is a domestic political background.

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico, following a meeting with the coalition before the summit of European leaders in Paris to support Ukraine, said that some states of the North Atlantic Alliance and the European Union are discussing the possibility of deploying their troops on the territory of Ukraine. French President Emmanuel Macron confirmed that there were such talks.

Is the issue of sending troops to Ukraine really being considered? Charter97.org spoke about this with Grigorij Mesežnikov, a Slovak political scientist and the President of the Institute for Public Affairs (IVO Bratislava), Grigorij Mesežnikov.

— I think that everything is actually a little different. Macron did not rule out such a possibility, but there are no negotiations at the level of the European Union and NATO, at the level of these organizations, this is simply excluded at present. As for Robert Fico, his pro-Russian and anti-Ukrainian position is known, but it has a serious domestic political background. He said different things in recent days, almost sounding the alarm that someone was forcing Slovakia to send its troops to Ukraine, that he was convening a meeting of the Slovak Security Council, at which it would be decided not to send troops in any case. This all has a purely domestic political background.

Unfortunately, this spoils the image of Slovakia. It shows Robert Fico in an unsightly pro-Russian light once again.

What is the internal political background? We will have presidential elections in less than a month. It cannot yet be predicted that the candidate from the government coalition, Peter Pellegrini, will win this election. It's hard to predict the results now, so Fico wants to mobilize the voters of one of the candidates, the pro-Russian politician Štefan Harabin, who is now in third place, and does not pass to the second round. Garabin claims that he will not urge his voters to vote for one of these two candidates in the second round.

The second candidate with real chances is the pro-Western Ivan Korčok. Fico, counting the percentages, is concerned that Pellegrini will not be able to attract Garabin's electorate to his side in the second round. These are such reactionary conservative pro-Russian anti-Western voters. Therefore, Robert Fico does this work for Pellegrini, wants to present the case in such a way that if the former foreign minister, pro-Western candidate Ivan Korčok becomes president, he will certainly draw Slovakia into the war against Russia on the side of Ukraine and send Slovak troops to this war. Nonsense, of course, but the less advanced part of the voters may be affected.

I simply cannot imagine now that negotiations on sending troops of the member states to Ukraine are possible at the level of NATO or the European Union. These are open organizations, if something like this were happening there, we would have known about it for a long time. I do not exclude that there are some considerations at the level of bilateral relations of Ukraine with EU or NATO member states, but this is a completely different thing.

Ukraine is making agreements on strategic cooperation in the field of security, as far as I know — with Denmark and Great Britain. This process will go on, but there are no negotiations at the level of NATO and the European Union on sending troops to Ukraine, I can tell you for sure.

There are general discussions about support for Ukraine, something was proposed by Macron at a meeting in Paris, but again, we are to assume that it was Macron's proposal. He has already put forward quite good proposals, but some of them have not yet been implemented. For example, at the beginning of the war in Gaza, he came to Israel and announced that it was necessary to create an international coalition against Hamas. But where is it?

Macron stated the need to create a coalition for the supply of long-range missiles to Ukraine. Again, it seems that some states (with no details) have agreed to join this coalition, but frankly, I am still skeptical about that. If France just supplied enough of their SCALP missiles that they have, it would be very important. Germany, as far as we know, has so far refused to supply TAURUS missiles.

So I parry your question in this way: I have not heard anything about any states sending troops. I do not exclude that such a possibility will arise if, for example, Russia attacks some NATO member state, it will be necessary to take actions, including on the territory of Ukraine. I do not exclude this, but so far there is no such situation.

— If we take these bilateral agreements on strategic cooperation in the field of security of Ukraine with Denmark, for example, what might they look like? Is it just a transfer of weapons or something else?

— Denmark has already transferred, as far as I know, all its artillery, in general, absolutely everything they had, to Ukraine or is in the process of transferring. This will be improved support through the supply of weapons, training, training of the Ukrainian military, including, of course, not the territory of Ukraine. But they will be specialists, experts, some technical support staff, but not combatants. The strategic cooperation agreement does not imply sending troops for waging a war.

There will also be an exchange of information, including intelligence. It is clear that this will have consequences for the political support of Ukraine. The states that sign such an agreement will obviously support Ukraine unequivocally at all levels, including within international organizations as members (the European Union, NATO, OSCE, UN or some other). But they are supporting Ukraine. It becomes clear that the conclusion of these agreements is just the way to the final stage of strengthening cooperation.

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