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Prime Minister Janša a guest on Sarah Jane Mee Show on Sky News

  • Former Prime Minister Janez Janša (2020 - 2022)

Today, Prime Minister Janez Janša was a guest on the Sarah Jane Mee Show on Sky News. Talking to the host Sarah Jane Mee, the Prime Minister spoke mainly about the current situation in Ukraine.

Prime Minister Janez Janša.

Prime Minister Janez Janša. | Author Kabinet predsednika vlade

"Slovenia is helping Ukraine as much as possible," said the Prime Minister at the beginning of the show, adding that countries differed in size and had varying capacities for assistance. "I am pleased that Great Britain is sending defence weapons to Ukraine. The stronger they are, the shorter the war," said the Prime Minister. He went on to say that the Ukrainians needed assistance in the form of humanitarian and financial aid, and reconstruction plans. "We are talking about people dying, we are talking about mass suffering, and every day costs lives, and anything that we can give the Ukrainians to defend themselves, that is what is saving their lives, and we have to realise that," said the Prime Minister.

With regard to sanctions against Russia, the Prime Minister said that all possible action had to be taken to make Ukraine stronger and Russia weaker. "The sanctions are not just sending a message but are actually making the Russian war machine weaker," said the Prime Minister. According to him, the West should be aware that the Russians are heavily dependent on spare parts produced in the West. "The next package of sanctions will target just that, which is extremely important. If certain Western enterprises are closing their luxury shops in Moscow, this will affect public opinion in the long or medium run, but it will not end the war; the war can only end if the Russian war machine doesn’t have the spare parts for its military equipment and weapons," said the Prime Minister. He added that, in that sense, Russia still had supplies, but not enough to win a modern war. "So, the more equipment is sent to Ukraine, the shorter the war will be," said the Prime Minister.

On the issue of Russian energy products, the Prime Minister said that the Russians’ demands to be paid in rubles were not realisable. "Slovenia is partly dependent on Russian gas, but not as much as other countries. Mr Putin probably doesn’t realise what he is actually doing by going down this road, which is a road of no return. I don’t know how he expects the Russian economy to function, as it is the Russian economy that is greatly dependent on energy exports," said the Prime Minister. He also expressed his belief that no one was going to pay for Russia’s energy products in rubles; after all, that would also be in contravention of the signed contracts.

"10 days ago, when this payment in rubles was first mentioned, I said that Europe and other countries that import Russian gas are doing everything in their power to find other sources. I think that the Kremlin doesn’t realise what is happening. If the money coming to Russia in hundreds of millions of euros from the purchases of energy products runs dry, then the big question will be how the Russian economy will look like in the coming years. Looking back after five years, the biggest victim of Putin’s adventure will be the Russian economy," said the Prime Minister.

During the talk show, Prime Minister Janša also commented on the allegations made by some intelligence services that Putin had in fact already lost the war. "Two weeks ago, when I was in Kyiv, and spoke to the Ukrainian leadership, we were told that it makes a difference whether mercenaries or Russian soldiers are fighting for the Russian side," said the Prime Minister and continued: "The Russian soldiers are trying to surrender, so we are discussing asylum for them at European level." The Prime Minister also said that the Ukrainian authorities also told them that when it comes to long-range attacks where heavy weapons are used, all soldiers are taking part in the aggressions, but when it comes to fighting in cities, Russian soldiers are less than enthusiastic about it. "The only units that really fight in cities are mercenaries, Chechens, individual groups and some special forces of the Russian army, while the regular army does not even want to fight," said the Prime Minister. He also said that Slovenia knows how such armies work. "Slovenia was attacked by a similar army, a communist army. This is a type of army where only officers know what the atmosphere in a particular unit is, while everyone else – the senior generals – paint a much better picture than it really is. And when the generals report to Mr Putin on the readiness of the army, they probably tell him that all military units are working," said the Prime Minister. He went on to say that the Russian leadership is currently benefiting from the advantage they have by controlling the skies over Ukraine and by possessing the equipment to raze cities, including Mariupol. The Prime Minister assessed that the war in Ukraine was a historical mistake made by the Kremlin and Putin, who was probably misled about the state of the Russian army. "However, Mr Putin still has a high level of support from the Russian population, which is isolated from the real picture of what is happening in Ukraine," said the Prime Minister. According to his estimate, the Western world will sooner or later have to face the fact that, thirty years ago, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, it neglected the real situation, with no de-communisation processes taking place in all these years.

With regard to the closure of air space, Prime Minister Janša said that his proposal and the proposal of many others was what the Ukrainians had also said. "The sky over Ukraine is a matter of the Ukrainians. Ukraine is a sovereign country and it is not for Russia to say who can come to Ukraine and who can fly over the Ukrainian sky, but now the situation is different. If the closure of air space had taken place before the Russian aggression, Mr Putin would probably not have risked an attack, but now we are talking about a situation that belongs to the past, which we cannot change. It would be risky if NATO were directly involved in the conflict, and I don't think that is necessary. That is also not what the Ukrainians are asking for either. Ukrainians are asking for modern equipment, missile equipment, so that they can defend their sky," said the Prime Minister. He added that this is in fact the point "where we are slow to respond and the results of this are unfortunately being paid for in blood."