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Monday, August 8, 2022

Prime Minister Janez Janša a guest on “Your World” on Fox News

By: UKOM

Prime Minister Janez Janša was a guest on the television programme “Your World” broadcast on Fox News. Hosted by Neil Cavuto, “Your World” focused on the current situation in Ukraine.

“If the US President Biden went to Ukraine, he would certainly be very welcome there, but the security risk for him would be different than it was for the three of us Prime Ministers who went there,” said the Prime Minister when asked whether the US President should also travel to Kyiv. “Of course I don’t think anything would happen to him, but Russia today is not what the Kremlin is claiming it to be; it is not a superpower that will invade Ukraine and then all the other countries, Ukraine is defending itself alone and our priority is to help them,” he said.

Asked whether it would help if more allied troops were deployed in Ukraine’s neighbouring countries, the Prime Minister said that this would be necessary as it would send a strong message.  “If we had been braver six months ago, we might have been able to prevent this aggression. Of course it is easy to be wise now, after all this, but we know this type of army and this type of regime, we escaped from a similar situation 30 years ago, and all I can say is: don’t trust a word that comes out of Moscow,” said the Prime Minister.

When asked whether he thought that NATO forces should also provide assistance to Ukraine from Slovenia or the Czech Republic, he replied that “if they come to Slovenia, they are welcome, but this is not a political decision, it is a military decision. We would have to decide where to deploy such forces. All NATO members are possible locations, but as I said, it is a military decision, not a political one. We can show political strength by invoking Article 5 of the treaty if any part of a NATO member’s territory is threatened, but I don’t think that will happen because Russia is not able to continue its march,” said the Prime Minister. “The focus is now on Ukraine and we must do everything we can to help them. Ukraine has enough troops, hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians have returned home to defend their homeland, but Russia has superiority in the air,” he said. “Every day, as this aggression continues, hundreds die, Mariupol suffers, and the scenes from there are reminiscent of Sarajevo two decades ago. We must do everything we can to put pressure on Russia to stop the war and to bring the Russians to the negotiating table. We need to show Ukraine that they are not alone, which is why Slovenia is sending diplomats back to Kyiv, because if we want diplomacy to stand a chance, it must take place on the ground, not somewhere across the border,” stressed the Prime Minister.

When asked how he would comment on the fact that President Zelensky wants support in the air, while President Biden in Brussels says this would lead to World War III, the Prime Minister responded by drawing a historical comparison to the start of World War II – did it start in Munich or when Poland was invaded? “The real question is how to prevent Russia from winning in Ukraine.  This means preventing the next great war.  I think we are not fully aware of the significance of the current situation because Ukraine is successfully defending itself. And indeed Ukraine does not need NATO forces on its territory, it may not even need NATO aircraft in its skies, but it does need modern equipment to be able to ultimately defend itself. The moment they can defend themselves, the peace negotiations can really begin,” believes the Prime Minister.

Regarding Putin’s threats of further penetration into the West, the Prime Minister is convinced that Russia is not strong enough to really threaten any NATO member state if NATO remains united. “NATO is now more united than it was after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Tomorrow’s meeting will be one of the most important meetings of the last decade. But I repeat, the focus is on Ukraine, which is the largest European country in terms of territory and the 4th richest country in terms of natural resources, and if Russia takes it over, the question is who will be next. If you go to Moldova, Georgia today, they are wondering whether they are next. The situation is critical and I repeat, we must do everything to strengthen Ukraine and everything to weaken Russia,” stressed the Prime Minister. He also warned of sanctions. “We know that sanctions have never in history had an impact on the end of a war; sanctions work in the medium term, in the long term, and the war will end when the Ukrainians are strong enough to stop Russian tanks and planes,” he stressed.

“You do not appear to be afraid of or worried about Putin,” said the host, and the Prime Minister replied that Slovenia declared independence in June 1991 and was then attacked by the Yugoslav Communist Army, which was at the time the 5th strongest army in Europe. “They said they would take us down in two days and we won in ten. And we got no help from anyone. We know the type of army that Russia has, we know the ideologies of such an army, we know the hardware and software of such an army, and we know what is reality and what is propaganda. Do not judge the strength of an army by the number of tanks, planes and heavy weapons; the most important thing in any army is the people who are ready to fight,” stressed the Prime Minister, adding that “when it comes to software, the Ukrainians are reborn”. “Of course they will win this war; the only question is how much of the country will Russia take over,” he said, convinced that Kyiv is not within reach of the Russian army.

Although Russia had already warned NATO not to send peacekeeping forces to Ukraine, the Prime Minister said that Ukraine is a sovereign country that can decide for itself who will enter Ukraine. “It is not up to Russia to say who can enter Ukraine. This is the decision to be taken by the Ukrainian Government and by the people who elected the Ukrainian Government. If we were to agree that Russia has a veto on who might enter sovereign states, then we would not only regress to the 20th century, but even to the 19th century. Not only do we have to tell others that they must respect international law, we must believe in it and implement it, because if we abandon these principles, then I do not know what kind of world we will be leaving to the next generations,” said the Prime Minister. He also noted that some of the issues should have been rectified three decades ago.  “At that time, with the Warsaw Pact, the fall of the Berlin Wall, we had faith in the new era and we believed that the transition of totalitarianism into democracy which would take care of itself.  However, this was not the case. The West made some mistakes in this process, Russia was treated as a kind of colony during Yeltsin’s time, as a source of cheap resources, and no one focused on a real transition to a democratic society. This is why the majority of the Russian population felt a kind of resentment and Putin abused this feeling to rise to power, while spreading his KGB network everywhere,” said the Prime Minister. “The KGB network is now everywhere and this is not a democracy, but it dominates Russia and seeks to influence its neighbours as well,” he added.

When asked whether the US President should be more determined in the given situation, the Prime Minister said that it was easier to judge when one is not in his place. “However, it is certain that we need the US both in Europe and on the European continent, where security threats have been neglected,” he stressed, adding: “Just look at our defence budgets. The situation was similar in the United States, but then 9/11 happened and the US woke up. In Europe, this is happening right now,” said the Prime Minister.

He also pointed out that when visiting Ukraine, European leaders held long discussions with the Ukrainian leadership about what they really needed.  “One thing that is really important is that the West has made a lot of promises to Ukraine but has not kept them all. So first we have to fulfil our promises, and then we need to eliminate the ideological dilemma between two types of weapons – defensive and offensive weapons. Ukrainians also need offensive weapons, with the proviso that these weapons can only be used in the territory of Ukraine so that the Russians cannot say that they are under threat,” said the Slovenian Prime Minister. He also highlighted Russia’s nuclear strategy, which includes the use of nuclear weapons when under threat.  “Whatever they might say, the threat of nuclear weapons is just a threat, because if we cross this line, then it gets much more serious than the loss of military and political goals in Ukraine, as it becomes a matter of survival. Russian politicians use these nuclear weapons threats very lightheartedly,” assessed the Prime Minister.

With regard to the use of chemical weapons, the Prime Minister said that “he does not believe in it”. “I do not believe that the Russian military would be stupid enough to use chemical weapons, because I do not know what military goal they could achieve by doing so. It is a good decision to provide Ukrainians with the means to defend themselves against such attacks, although in my opinion the most dangerous are classic weapons and Russian air superiority that threaten the lives of Ukrainians, children, women and families,” said the Prime Minister. He added that we need to respond to threats that are real, not to those that are hypothetical.

The Prime Minister agrees with the statement that Putin is a war criminal. “When I travelled to Kyiv and our Ukrainian friends showed us videos and pictures from the cities occupied by the Russians, and when we saw the destroyed hospitals while at the same time we listened to the Russian Foreign Minister saying that there was no war in Ukraine, then all I can say is that if there is no will for genuine negotiations, then Mr Putin’s fate will be the same as the fate of former Serbian President Milošević, who was tried in The Hague,” said the Prime Minister. He added that he believed that Russian President Putin was facing a military catastrophe of historical proportions in Ukraine, which, of course, would then also trigger reactions in Russia.

The Prime Minister also said that he feels that we still do not realise how much the world has changed since 24 February 2022, because what is happening now affects everyone. “We will also see what happens in the Pacific in the coming years. A new division is emerging, propelled not only by Mr Putin, but by Russian aggression. The West should also have been more vigilant during the occupation of Crimea. Now too, we must wake up and say that after all this, we will accept Russia into the international community as we know it when it ceases to threaten its neighbourhood,” said the Prime Minister. “To be frank, when the Soviet Union collapsed, the standard of living of the population changed. Estonia was part of the Soviet Union, but the average salary in Estonia today is three times higher than in Russia, and we should ask Mr Putin how this is possible. Russia is among the richest countries in terms of natural resources, and these resources probably go to the richest Russians to strengthen the KGB network’s power,” said the Prime Minister, adding that today the West should do what it should have done 30 years ago.  “However, this will probably not be that easy and for this reason we are paying our debt to history today,” concluded Prime Minister Janša.

Source: gov.si

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