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Ukraine in Focus

For a long time now, the Slovak information space has been flooded with disinformation, the aim of which is to manipulate public opinion. These efforts have intensified since the start of the Russian aggression against Ukraine. The Ministry collects the most common false claims and confronts them with facts.

Citizens in the Occupied Territories of Ukraine Voted in Favor of Joining Russia

Updated 19.02.2024
Published 02.11.2022

In September 2022, pseudo-referendums were organized in Ukraine's occupied territories, in which allegedly more than 90 percent of the responding inhabitants decided that they want to be annexed to Russia. 

Facts

A referendum is a tool for direct democracy, in which eligible voters decide whether or not to adopt or reject a law, a regulation, a proposal or a program. This is valid under the assumption that people vote freely, not under an armed threat. 

Referendums on the annexation of Ukraine´s Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhia regions (18 % of the Ukrainian territory) do not meet the conditions of a legitimate referendum. The very substance of the referendum question already grossly violates international law. The sham referendums are an interference with the sovereignty, independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine. By occupying territories that followed these referendums, Russia also seriously violated international agreements to which it is a signatory, including the UN Charter, Geneva Conventions and the Budapest Memorandum, which explicitly prohibits aggression against Ukraine.  

Pseudo-referendums in Ukraine were also held under the command of armed soldiers, without the presence of independent observers and without the need to identify voters. In addition, due to the war a significant part of the inhabitants fled or was displaced from these regions, and, as such, could not participate in the referendum due to objective reasons. There are moreover no independent public opinion polls in the occupied territories, while even after eight months of occupation the Russian army does not control the entire territory of all the four Ukrainians regions. A similar method was also used by Russia in 2014 in referendums followed by the illegal annexation of the Crimean Peninsula. The UN General Assembly (illegal annexation was confirmed by 143 countries in a resolution) condemned the illegitimate referendums in October.

Therefore, on no conditions can the referendums be considered as exercise of the right of self-determination.

The Russian Military Operation is a Forced Response to Provocation by Ukraine and the West

Updated 19.02.2024
Published 02.11.2022

The myth that has been spread by Russia since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine is that the aggression in Ukraine is an adequate reaction to the provocation by Ukraine and the West.

Facts

And yet Article 2 of the Charter of the United Nations, of which the Russian Federation is also a signatory, explicitly states that all UN members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered. It also rejects the use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state. 

The only exception is stated in Article 51 of the UN Charter on self-defence if an armed attack occurs against a member of the United Nations. However, the Russian Federation cannot support its actions using similar reasoning. Ukraine did not militarily attack Russia, nor did it, unlike Russia, amass military troops on its borders with the purpose of attacking. Likewise, there is no evidence that Russian speaking or ethnic Russian inhabitants of eastern Ukraine faced persecution by Ukrainian authorities. This was also confirmed by the reports published by the Council of Europe, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and OSCE.

All sovereign states including Ukraine can freely determine their own path, their foreign orientation and security policy, alliances as well as their participation in international organizations and military alliances. Last but not least, there are no political or legal NATO commitments that would pledge not to extend the alliance beyond the frontiers of a reunited Germany, which Russia claims the West has violated.

All of these claims have only one objective, which is to divert attention from Russia´s responsibility for the unprovoked military aggression against Ukraine.

There is a Genocide of the Russian-speaking Population in Ukraine

Updated 19.02.2024
Published 02.11.2022

Since the annexation of Crimea and the outbreak of war in Ukraine in 2014, there has been disinformation about genocide of the Russian-speaking population in Ukraine repeatedly appearing in the conspiracy circles. This made-up assertion was also misused to justify the Russian invasion in Ukraine in February 2022.

Dead soldiers as well as civilians are victims of the war that Russia has started in Ukraine and this is a documented act of aggression by Russian armed forces, which has lasted since February 2014.

Facts

Genocide is defined by the UN Convention on Genocide, which was also signed by Russia, as “acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, as such.” 

There is no evidence showing the systematic persecution of Russian-speaking citizens by Ukrainian authorities. Similarly, there are no signs of systematic killing based on national, racial, religious, and cultural or language reasons by Ukraine. This was confirmed by the Council of Europe,  Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and OSCE that has been conducting an observation mission in Donbas since 2014. Its members were also Russian observers. In no OSCE mission reports is there any mention of genocide of the Russian-speaking inhabitants.

Moreover, pursuant to Articles 10 and 11 of the Constitution of Ukraine:

“In Ukraine, the free development, use and protection of Russian, and other languages of national minorities of Ukraine, is guaranteed”, and “The State promotes the consolidation and development of the Ukrainian nation, of its historical consciousness, traditions and culture, and also the development of the ethnic, cultural, linguistic and religious identity of all indigenous peoples and national minorities of Ukraine.”

Ukraine Produces Biological Weapons

Updated 19.02.2024
Published 02.11.2022

Part of the Russian invasion in Ukraine is also a flood of disinformation and other manipulations, the aim of which is to justify this war. Among the disinformation being spread is the statement on the alleged production of biological weapons in Ukrainian biological laboratories. 

Facts

It is true that in Ukraine there are biological laboratories, similarly as in any country, including Slovakia. However, the statements about the production and development of biological weapons do not come from an objective reality.
These allegations were also rejected by UN representatives, who concluded that they are not aware of any programs focused on the development of biological weapons within the territory of Ukraine.

This is nothing new in the arsenal of Russian propaganda and Russia has raised similar accusations against Ukraine and other former Soviet states for a longer period. However, the assertions regarding the production of biological weapons in Ukraine were revived after 2014 when Russia illegally annexed Crimean and started the war in Donbas.

This rhetoric focuses especially on Russian-speaking inhabitants to create an image of Russia surrounded by enemies and facing an existential threat, which, in their eyes, can justify the military action.


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News

12.04.2024

Today (11 April 2024), the Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic, Juraj Blanár, held talks with the Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba during a joint meeting of the Slovak and Ukrainian governments in Michalovce, Slovakia. The counterparts discussed concrete support provided by Slovakia, especially in the field of humanitarian aid, infrastructure and energy as well as in the area of demining the Ukrainian territory.

04.04.2024

On 3 and 4 April 2024, at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation Member States discussed preparations for the Alliance's July Summit in Washington, strengthening the collective defence, assistance to Ukraine and deepening cooperation with partners from the Indo-Pacific region. The Slovak delegation was led by the Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Juraj Blanár.

03.04.2024

Today (3 April 2024), the Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic, Juraj Blanár, held talks with the British Foreign Secretary, David Cameron, on the first day of the meeting of the heads of diplomacy of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member states in Brussels. The partners discussed preparations for the Washington NATO summit with regards to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and also raised the issue of strengthening mutual cooperation in the economic field.

26.03.2024

In Ljubljana a meeting of foreign affairs ministers of the informal C5 Group (C5) initiative was held today (26 March 2024). The invitation by Slovenia's chief diplomat Tanja Fajon was also accepted by Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic Juraj Blanár who attended the negotiations, along with his counterparts from the Czech Republic (Minister Jan Lipavský), Hungary (Minister Péter Szijjártó) and Austria (Minister Alexander Schallenberg) as well as Slovenia (Minister Tanja Fajon).