Slovenia’s efforts shift to humanitarian, development aid to Ukraine

Ljubljana – Slovenia’s Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon has indicated the country’s efforts regarding Ukraine would shift to the provision of development and humanitarian aid, after the previous government focused on sending military aid.

“We have projects such as demining with which Slovenia can help Ukraine. I hope we can find a common alliance when it comes to post-war rebuilding,” she said after talks on Tuesday with Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn.

“Both countries are very strong when it comes to humanitarian aid, development aid,” she said.

Since the start of the war Slovenia has provided Ukraine humanitarian assistance worth EUR 3.2 million and around EUR 7 million worth of military aid, according to the Foreign Ministry.

Fajon’s comments came in the aftermath of two conflicting high-profile public letters written by intellectuals and former politicians questioning Slovenia’s positioning on Ukraine.

She announced the formation of a strategic council that would debate both letters. The authors thereof will be invited to the debate.

In a subsequent press release, the Foreign Ministry said the minister had also set up a coordinating group that will cover Ukraine and propose solutions for how to help the country.

Slovenia is moreover making efforts through various diplomatic channels to get Russia and Ukraine to the negotiating table.

The ministry condemned the numerous attacks on Russian civilian population and infrastructure and called for an independent inquiry by the International Criminal Court.

Overall, the war in Ukraine and the prospects of giving the country a path to EU membership topped the Fajon-Asselborn talks today.

Both ministers said Ukraine was a sovereign country with internationally recognised borders that is free to choose its security arrangements and alliance.

They said the country should continue to receive development and humanitarian aid, while warning that the conflict was a major challenge with consequences for the whole world.

Both endorsed sanctions against Russia, with Asselborn noting that the sanctions were urgent since they weakened Russian President Vladimir Putin, helped Ukraine and protected European values.

As for the EU membership prospects of Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia, which will be the topic of the next EU summit, they expressed support, even as they pointed out that criteria cannot be ignored.

“We’ll see in the coming days what the European Commission’s recommendation will be regarding Ukraine’s EU membership prospects. But notwithstanding the Commission’s decision, Ukraine can always count on Slovenia’s support when it comes to the prospects for membership,” Fajon said.