Slovakia’s premier calls for coordination in response to Ukraine crisis

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The prime minister of Slovakia has highlighted the importance of coordination between nations in assisting Ukraine ahead of a meeting with Boris Johnson.

Eduard Heger said that, alongside coordination, the West can also help with the humanitarian aid being provided to Ukraine, a point he plans to discuss with Mr Johnson on Tuesday.

Mr Heger was visiting Imperial College London on Monday to meet students from its Czech-Slovak Society.

Speaking about what he plans to discuss with the Prime Minister, including refugees, Mr Heger told the PA news agency: “I think it’s very important to coordinate (with) each other in this whole effort.

“We are having a great coordination within the European Union, but I think this coordination is happening also on the Nato level.

“So I would like to hear from him what kind of information he’s having and how we can cooperate on making this whole process smoother and bringing more and more effectiveness into it.”

On humanitarian aid, he said: “Again this is a great task for Slovakia, Poland, Hungary and Romania and since we are the neighbouring countries to provide the hubs for the humanitarian help.

“So it’s very efficient, very fast, so I will be discussing with him also this area.”

As of March 6, 128,169 refugees from Ukraine have arrived in Slovakia, according to data from the UN refugee agency (UNHCR).

Mr Heger said it is important to emphasise that Slovakia is a border country with Ukraine.

“So that is why the number is so high because they are going through Slovakia, but this is not the number where they stay.

“That’s very important to say because many of the Ukrainians go to their families which they have around Europe.

“So basically they’re passing through Slovakia.

“So that 130,000 that you said is the people who crossed the border, but it doesn’t reflect how many stay,” he told PA.

Asked how concerned he is about what may happen in future due to Slovakia bordering Ukraine, Mr Heger said: “I’m not concerned because we are part of Nato.

“And all the countries, there is great solidarity and great unity in any action that we do and we are in very high readiness so I don’t think that this is a threat to Slovakia or to Nato countries in general.

“It is now more about helping Ukraine to fight for their values, to fight for their freedom and basically resist and stop the aggression of Vladimir Putin in Ukraine.”

Asked if Nato can do more to assist Ukraine, Mr Heger told the PA news agency: “It’s not about Nato in general.

“It’s about the countries, about the democratic countries in the world.

“We speak of the European Union and also Great Britain, the United States etc.”

He added: “Let’s talk about the democratic world.

“And of course we can do more and we are working on doing more.”

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