Slovak Parliament authorizes arms exports, including to Ukraine

Slovak Parliament authorizes arms exports, including to Ukraine

On Tuesday, January 16, the Slovak parliament voted in favor of an amendment that gives the Ministry of Defense the authority to approve arms exports.

This is reported by Politico, Ukrinform reported.

The legislature approved the change to the country’s proposed Competence Law by a narrow majority. 

President Zuzana Čaputová had previously vetoed the bill, approved in accelerated proceedings shortly before Christmas, reasoning that the defense ministry did not have the expert resources to assess the potential risks of arms sales to Slovakia’s international reputation and security.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 has proven a boon to Slovakia's defense sector, none more so than to ammunition maker ZVS Holding, a joint venture between the privately-owned MSM Group founded by Czech arms entrepreneur Jaroslav Strnad, and DMD Group, owned by the defense ministry under minister Robert Kaliňák.

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In the first seven months of 2023 ZVS Holding recorded €44 million in revenues compared to €40 million for the whole of 2022, "largely due to Russia's aggression in Ukraine," according to DMD Group's website. 

"Almost 100 percent of the munitions production of ZVS Holding for the next two or three years has been sold out to Ukraine," said Naď. "Decisions on increasing production, on sales to Ukraine, on joining European Commission [arms subsidy] projects, those are all political decisions made by shareholders, and in the case of ZVS Holding, where 50 percent is owned by the defense ministry, that means Robert Kaliňák."

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Since the start of the full-scale invasion, Slovakia has provided Ukraine with €671 million in military aid. This included, for example, 13 MiG-29 fighter jets, the S-300 air defense system, about 30 infantry fighting vehicles, and 10 Zuzana-2 self-propelled howitzers.

As reported, on October 26, the new Prime Minister of Slovakia Robert Fico said that his government stops military assistance to Ukraine. At the same time, he said that the government would not block the supply of weapons and ammunition to Ukraine from private manufacturers.

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