The Slovenia Times

PM Janša due in Ukraine on Thursday


Ljubljana - Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša will be visiting Ukraine on Thursday and Friday for meetings with his counterpart Denys Shmyhal and President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, his office has announced.

Janša first announced his upcoming visit to Kyiv after speaking with Shmyhal on the phone earlier this month.

The visit aims for Slovenia to support Ukraine's European and Euro-Atlantic perspective and to reaffirm Slovenia's commitment to Ukraine's territorial integrity and sovereignty within its internationally recognised borders, the PM's office said.

It added that the visit would also be an opportunity to enhance dialogue and deepen relations between the two countries.

"Slovenia supports territorial integrity and independence of Ukraine and advocates de-escalation and peaceful resolution of the conflict in the east of the country. It also supports Ukraine's efforts to adopt the standards of Euro-Atlantic integrations, and calls for progress in particular in the fight against corruption, the rule of law and independence of the judiciary," reads the release.

The office noted the positive dynamics in bilateral trade, identifying the potential to enhance cooperation in the pharmaceutical industry, agriculture, digitalisation, energy efficiency and environmental solutions.

Data from the site, operated by the investment promotion agency SPIRIT, shows the volume of goods trade between Slovenia and Ukraine in the first eleven months of 2021 was close to EUR 283 million, of which EUR 219 million was Slovenia's exports. In the whole of 2020 trade amounted to EUR 260 million.

Almost half of Slovenia's exports to Ukraine last year was pharmaceutical products. The bulk of imports were wood, wooden products and charcoal.

The prime minister's office said the visit would also be an opportunity to review cooperation in development and humanitarian aid. On the occasion Slovenia will deliver material aid to the country.

The government on Monday approved a shipment of EUR 163,000 worth of sleeping bags, rubber boots, diesel generators, gloves and face masks to Ukraine in response to the country's appeal for help.

The situation in the country is tense after Russia on Monday recognised the independence of the self-styled republics of Donetsk and Luhansk in the east of the country. There are concerns about the possibility of a broader Russian invasion on Ukraine.

Condemning Russia's recognition of the two separatist regions, Janša said the EU should offer Ukraine the prospect of full membership.

"The recognition of the two separatist territories in Ukraine is a blatant violation of international law, the Budapest and Minsk agreements. Slovenia condemns this illegal move. The EU has to offer Ukraine full membership perspective," Janša said on his Twitter profile in the wake of Russia's move.

Several Western officials visited Kyiv in recent weeks to support Ukraine and a diplomatic solution to the crisis, including French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. The pair have also visited Moscow. Foreign ministers of the Baltic countries are expected in Kyiv on Thursday.


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