Slovenia condemns Russia’s recognition of rebel-held Ukraine regions

Ljubljana – Slovenia’s officials strongly condemned Russia’s recognition of the separatist regions of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine as independent entities. Prime Minister Janez Janša called for the EU to offer Ukraine the prospect of full membership. Slovenia is also ready to support the country’s membership of the EU.

“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 tweeted in the night.

President Borut Pahor meanwhile tweeted that he had met with Janša today to discuss the security situation related to the developments in Ukraine.

Pahor said that he had agreed with the prime minister that the recognition of the two self-proclaimed separatist regions was a “severe violation of international law and serious encroachment on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.”

The Foreign Ministry followed up with a tweet strongly condemning the move by Russian president Vladimir Putin and adding: “These hostile measures are a flagrant violation of international law & obligations contained in Minsk agreements & will not remain without consequences.”

The ministry reiterated Slovenia’s “unwavering support” for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders. It commended the Ukrainian government’s leadership in the face of “this aggression, entirely & unilaterally escalated by Russia”.

It later said that the activities to be taken by Slovenia regarding the recognition of independence of Donetsk and Lugansk were being coordinated at the EU level, noting that the EU foreign ministers would decide today on the response to the “illegal and aggressive acts by the Russian Federation.”

The ministry, which said that the diplomatic presence and crisis response on the ground in Ukraine was being coordinated at the EU level, again advised Slovenian citizens against travelling to Ukraine, and advised those who are there to make sure they return home safely.

Meanwhile, a post on the Defence Ministry’s Twitter profile said Minister Matej Tonin had a conference call with PM Janša, Foreign Minister Anže Logar and Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek to exchange views on the situation and align Slovenia’s position on the crisis.

“Slovenia is willing to support Ukraine’s membership of the EU and enhance Slovenian troops’ presence in eastern NATO member states,” the ministry tweeted.

This was repeated by Defence Minister Matej Tonin as he condemned Russia’s move as grave violation of international law, and breach of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Considering that Russia has recognised the separatist regions within old Soviet borders, “this is, in other words, a declaration of war in Ukraine”, said Tonin.

Parliamentary Speaker Igor Zorčič described Russia’s recognition of the separatist territories in Ukraine as a harmful unilateral move in breach of international law. He called on all sides to make maximum effort for a peaceful resolution of the conflict.

Putin recognised the two breakaway regions as independent “people’s republics” last night, ordering deployment of Russian troops there to “maintain peace”.

He also ordered for the Russian Foreign Ministry to establish diplomatic relations with the two regions, which are part of Ukraine under international law.

Most of the international community condemned the Russian president’s move and the UN Security Council has met to discuss the matter. Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called on the international community to support his country.