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Prime Minister Janez Janša’s interview with Sky News

  • Former Prime Minister Janez Janša (2020 - 2022)

In an interview with Sky News, Prime Minister Janez Janša today talked about the current situation in Ukraine and the impact of the war on Slovenia.

In an interview with Sky News, Prime Minister Janez Janša today talked about the current situation in Ukraine and the impact of the war on Slovenia | Author Kabinet predsednika vlade

Asked whether the Prime Minister believes that Slovenia is potentially at risk given what is happening in Ukraine, he replied that if Putin managed to invade Ukraine, we would all be at risk because he would "continue his aggression". "Defending Ukraine means defending Europe and Slovenia," he said.

He also said that the current situation in Ukraine resembles the one in 1939, when Poland was attacked. "If Hitler had been stopped when he attacked Poland, Europe would not have faced a six-year-long World War II," said the Prime Minister, adding that what was currently going on in Ukraine was mass suffering.

"In Slovenia, we know how Ukrainians feel as we found ourselves in a similar situation 30 years ago. At the time, Slovenia was invaded by the Yugoslav People’s Army that behaved similarly to the Russian army today. We knew what would happen when the aggression started," the Prime Minister said, stressing that we must do everything in our power to help Ukraine defend itself. "We must help the refugees. We must give hope to Ukrainians. This is why we have launched an initiative to make Ukraine a member of the EU as quickly as possible. This is not about procedures, it is about the hope that we give to the people," the Prime Minister said. "Ukrainians must be made to feel that they belong to our family, they must be given the strength to defend themselves, and they must be assured that, because they are part of our family, we will do everything we can to help them defend themselves as they are also fighting for Europe."

Asked about what NATO's role should be in the Russian aggression against Ukraine, the Prime Minister said that NATO was "an alliance with a responsibility to defend its members." The Prime Minister said, "This has been the case. NATO has not been as united as it is now since the end of the Cold War, but it is not enough. It is right that NATO is not directly involved in the conflict with troops on the ground, but we have to do everything to strengthen the Ukrainian air defences." He added that Ukrainians have been asking for the introduction of the no-fly zone. "Some of our friends are very afraid to implement this measure, as there are various reasons behind it. I proposed the introduction of the no-fly zone even before the conflict had started. If that had happened, Russia would have to run the risk of waging war with NATO," said the Prime Minister. He continued, however, that the situation in theory was different from the actual state of affairs. The Prime Minister is of the opinion that NATO should do everything in its power to strengthen the Ukrainian Air Force. "NATO has the means to do this. This would, however, take longer and, as you said, there is a possibility of introducing a limited no-fly zone, which would only serve humanitarian purposes," stressed the Prime Minister.

He also emphasised that, with helping Ukraine, we also helped defend Europe. "If Ukraine with 40 million of its people were conquered and we did not do enough to help them, what would those against helping Ukraine say when Putin enters Moldova, Georgia, or the Baltic states? They would say that it is only a small country of two million people and that there is no reason to risk a war with Russia, a nuclear power. This very discussion took place in the 1930s and we all know what the consequences were," said Prime Minister Janša.

"The time to act is now. I am pleased to see the unity within the EU and NATO, which we have not seen in the last three decades, and this gives hope not only to me but to other NATO members, especially those bordering the war zone, and to Ukrainians," concluded Prime Minister Janša.