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Slovaks raise over $ 3 mn for a Czech initiative to supply Ukraine with ammunition

In defiance of their government’s stance, a crowdfunding campaign in Slovakia has raised over $ 3 million to purchase ammunition for Ukraine’s military.
protest in slovakia against foreign policy march 2024
Protest in Slovakia against foreign policy on 12 March 2024. Credit: Reuters
Slovaks raise over $ 3 mn for a Czech initiative to supply Ukraine with ammunition

Slovaks, dissatisfied with the attitude of Robert Fico’s government towards Ukraine, raised over $3,1 million to purchase ammunition for the Ukrainian army, the Ammunition for Ukraine initiative reports.

The crowdfunding campaign was launched in response to the Slovak government’s refusal to join the Czech-organized procurement of ammunition for Ukraine from non-European countries. “If not the government, then we will send it,” says the slogan on the initiative’s website.

Slovaks join Czechia-led effort to supply Ukraine with ammo, defying Slovakia’s pro-Russian PM

The Slovak government, led by Prime Minister Robert Fico, has taken a Russia-friendly stance on the war in Ukraine. Since taking office last year, Fico has halted military aid to Ukraine, advocated for “peace talks” with Russia, and, respectively, did not support the Czech shell initiative. However, the Slovak crowdfunding campaign organizers say they want to show that the government’s position does not reflect the views of all Slovaks.

On the morning of 22 April, a week after the start of the fundraiser, the website reported that $3,1 million had already been collected. According to the website record, over 47,000 people made donations.

One of the initiators of the campaign was 99-year-old Otto Shimko, who survived the Holocaust and participated in the Slovak uprising against the Nazis in 1944. “We have to expel Putin from Ukraine. We have to defeat him,” Shimko told the BBC. “I survived World War II. I fought in it. I know there was no point in negotiating with Hitler, and there is no point in negotiating with Putin.”

The fundraiser will reportedly “allow its participants to support Ukraine bypassing the national-populist government of Robert Fico,” who came to power after last October’s elections.

The Slovak government, led by Prime Minister Robert Fico, has taken a Russia-friendly stance on the war in Ukraine. Since taking office last year, Fico has halted military aid to Ukraine and advocated for “peace talks” with Russia.

Fico refused to participate in the Czech project to procure ammunition, which about 20 countries have already joined. The Slovak prime minister says Western aid to Ukraine only prolongs the war, and Kyiv should lay down its arms and start negotiations with Moscow.

Robert Fico himself has not yet commented on this initiative. Defense Minister Robert Kalinak said on Markiza TV that Slovakia is a democratic country, and citizens have every right to take such actions. He added that instead of sending weapons and ammunition, the government is working to help Ukraine, for example, with demining efforts.

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