Slovakia Lost Billions Due to EU Sanctions Against Russia, PM Says

The European Union’s anti-Russian sanctions have caused serious harm to Slovakia’s economy, Slovak Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini said on Sunday, according to news.ru.

“Slovakia has never been an advocate of sanctions but we respect the European Union’s decision [to impose the anti-Russian sanctions],” he said in an interview with the Bratislava-based TA3 news channel.

“I must say that here in Slovakia we have actually felt the negative impacts of the sanctions. Our exports and entire trade with Russia more than halved from 2013 to 2016.”

Relations between the European Union and Russia are not improving, the PM noted. Moreover, they are only worsening, he said, adding that the European Union must revise the efficiency of its sanction policy in respect of Russia.

Apart from that, he refrained from placing the blame for a large-scale cyberattack on the Slovak foreign ministry on Russia.

“The data I have received from the [Slovak] military intelligence services does not make it possible to say that Russia is responsible for the [hacker] attack. At the same time, I cannot exclude it either,” he said.

According to the Slovak prime minister, the country’s foreign ministry came under hacker attack from one of “bigger states,” as reported by the Slovak Military Intelligence. “No top-secret documents have been stolen,” he noted.

Earlier this month, Slovak foreign minister Minister Miroslav Laichak said that it is extremely important for Slovakia that the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project does not weaken Europe’s energy security. According to him, the country’s leadership is “trying to look at the project from different points of view.”