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State Secretary Dr Črnčec at the Bled Strategic Forum: »Slovenia understands what military solidarity is«

On Tuesday, 29th of August, the Bled Strategic Forum hosted a panel titled Ukraine: the Power of Solidarity. The panellists included Dr Damir Črnčec, State Secretary at the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Slovenia, Krsto Perović, State Secretary at the Ministry of Defence of Montenegro, Andrii Taran, Ambassador of Ukraine to the Republic of Slovenia, Krzysztof Jan Olendzki, Ambassador of Poland to the Republic of Slovenia, and Holger Haibach from the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung for Croatia and Slovenia. The panel was moderated by Katja Geršak.

In his opening remarks, State Secretary Dr Črnčec recalled the pivotal events of Slovenia's independence: »Slovenia is a country that understood and still understands the significance of the word military solidarity. Back in 1991, we were in a very similar situation, when we were attacked by the Yugoslav army and fought for our independence." He emphasized: "Slovenia has steadfastly supported Ukraine since its inception, and we continue to do so. Te path to peace is straightforward: if an aggressor country withdraws its forces from Ukraine, peace will be achieved.«

The Secretary of State continued by expressing his appreciation for Ukraine's recent assistance despite being in a state of war. He mentioned: »It was heartening to witness Ukraine, amidst warfare, dispatch its finest team of engineers with equipment to aid our people after the catastrophic floods in early August.« Dr Črnčec also announced the imminent opening of the military bridge in Mezica, constructed by Polish engineers, which occurred today, on the 31st of August.

Slovenia has also received a lot of support from other countries. In addition to military aid, we have also received humanitarian aid from the EU, NATO and bilateral aid from the countries of the Western Balkans.

In his second speech at the panel, State Secretary Dr Črnčec highlighted Slovenia's entry into the EU and NATO with the slogan "NATO first, then the EU". He noted: »When we decided to become independent, we also decided that our values would be the same as those shared with this European space. Now I see that it is exactly the same with Ukraine. They are in the same situation as we were. They have decided that their values would align with the West's. And when they decided to do that, they started taking stepst, but the big neighbour said: "No, you are not allowed to do that." It is not about history, it is about the nation's decision where it wants to be, and when they started to take concrete and precise steps, they were attacked.« He also mentioned the formation of an alliance bloc consisting of democratically governed nations and the evolving architecture in progress. He pointed out the unprecedented expansion of NATO, encompassing Finland and soon Sweden, while the European Union provides a timeline for Western Balkans, Moldova and Georgia.

The Secretary of State concluded by stating: "Balkanisation could be the new realistic scenario for Russia after this failed war. The consequence will be that Russia will struggle significantly to survive as the state it is today."

Watch the full panel discussion on the Ministry of Defence YouTube channel.

Panelists are seated on stage. Behind them is a billboard with the logo of the Bled Strategy Forum

In his opening remarks, State Secretary Dr Črnčec recalled the pivotal events of Slovenia's independence | Author Ministry of Defence