Stunning Victory in Europe is Bad News for Ukraine

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Slovakia, the small country in Central Europe formerly part of Czechoslovakia, has elected a Ukraine-sceptic Prime Minister.

Robert Fico’s party, representing the populist faction, won the first spot in the parliamentary election. Among its platform has been to stop giving military aid to Ukraine. The New York Times reports:

A Russia-friendly populist party finished first in a crowded field on Sunday in Slovakia’s parliamentary elections, a vote that many in Europe have seen as a bellwether of support for the war in Ukraine.

The party led by Robert Fico, a pugnacious former prime minister who has vowed to stop aid to Kyiv, held almost 23 percent of the votes, with nearly all districts tallied, while a liberal party that wants to maintain robust support in the fight against Russia trailed with about 18 percent.

Slovakia shares a border with Ukraine, and has been responsible for sending older Soviet materiel to bolster Kyiv’s troops. Slovakia has not been meeting its NATO obligation for rearmament, making this aid particularly difficult for the country. Newsweek reports:

Robert Fico, the leader of Slovakia’s populist Smer-SD party, had won almost 23 percent of the vote with 99.98 percent of votes counted, the Slovak Statistical Office said early on Sunday. Trailing in second was the Progressive Slovakia party with just under 18 percent of the vote, falling short of the win predicted for the liberal centrist party ahead of the election. These preliminary results will be confirmed later on Sunday.

The victory will likely be a worrying signal for Kyiv, which has benefited from military aid from Slovakia, whose eastern border is shared with Ukraine. Slovakia and Poland have sent Soviet-era MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine, setting the precedent for Kyiv’s allies to consider boosting the country’s airpower with Western-made jets.

As a parliamentary republic, Slovakia and most of Europe relies on coalitions between parties to pass legislation. While the liberals could technically craft a coalition to continue aid to Ukraine, it will be much more difficult.

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