Prime Minister Janez Janša was a guest on Fakty po Faktach, a show on Polish TV channel TVN24. There he spoke about efforts to end the war in Ukraine and strengthening security in Europe.
The interviewer began by noting that US President Joe Biden had used words such as “butcher”, “war criminal” and “criminal” for Russian President Putin and asked the Prime Minister if he would use such terminology himself. “The US President said this before the massacre in Bucha and its surroundings and longer before the shocking news about the events in Bucha reached the world,” the Prime Minister said, adding: “I don’t think we can find words strong enough to describe our feelings after Sunday’s revelation and atrocities.”
“There is a big gap between what is being said and what is being done. One would expect not only strong words but much more military aid from those who can help,” the Prime Minister said of the talks that European leaders are holding with Russian President Putin. “At the beginning, before the Russian aggression towards Ukraine escalated, there was some hope that the talks would help. Today, however, Western leaders should demand a ceasefire before talks can begin. There is no possibility for real negotiations until the war is over,” said the Prime Minister, continuing that by making such calls his European colleagues were largely helping Putin, who can still call himself a respected leader in front of his public. “If we listen to and read press releases from the Russians or the French, they describe quite differently what was discussed and what the purpose of the discussions was,” he said, expressing his agreement with Polish Prime Minister Morawiecki, who said that such talks help to cover up the real situation from the Russian public. “I am not against gestures of goodwill, good intentions and trying to help, but we must be realistic, and after what has happened in recent weeks, I would have to say that no talks should be held until some conditions are met,” Prime Minister Janša underlined.
The Polish journalist then mentioned that Hungarian Prime Minister Orban had described Ukrainian President Zelenskyy as his enemy and asked the Slovenian Prime Minister what he thought about that. “I did not hear the Hungarian Prime Minister’s speech; I only read mentions of it in the media. For me, President Zelenskyy is a hero. As he and Prime Minister Shmyhal and his colleagues in the government have taken a huge step by deciding not to leave Kyiv and staying to fight with their nation. All predictions that the Ukrainian people would be subdued in a matter of days were thwarted by this action. This rebirth of the Ukrainian nation, which we are witnessing today, is also the result of this decision,” the Prime Minister said. “For me, Zelenskyy is a hero, as is the Prime Minister, the Speaker of Parliament and all the opposition leaders who support the President. The politicians in Ukraine stand unified and are showing the whole of Europe what true leadership looks like,” he added. “In this conflict, so to speak, that you have mentioned, I must say that Viktor Orban is a friend of mine, and yet I do not support this position, though I understand the complexity of the issue and the relations between Hungary and Ukraine before the war, especially regarding the situation of the Hungarian minority. Obviously, we would not be happy either if something similar to what is happening to the Hungarian minority in Ukraine were happening to our minority in Austria, but now the situation is different and we must be aware that Ukraine is fighting for the whole of Europe, not just for its own country,” the Prime Minister said.
As regards the military-assisted peacekeeping mission, the Prime Minister said that this idea had been discussed on their way to Kyiv. “There is some legitimacy in this proposal. We have to be proactive. A peacekeeping mission without some ‘muscle’ that NATO can provide is not possible. We are now talking about a combination of peace-making and peacekeeping,” the Prime Minister said. “So this idea of a peacekeeping mission, when released to the public, surprised almost everyone who was not aware that this was going to be proposed. But, as we know from history, such ideas can soon become reality,” the Prime Minister said. He added that any proposal that helps Ukrainians to defend themselves and end the war more quickly was welcome. “Ukrainians do not believe in easy promises with no real power behind them; they are aware that a peacekeeping mission with a mandate from the United Nations and light military equipment is not very likely. And even if it happens, what will the result be? We need something else in the international community, something special, tailor-made for this situation,” the Prime Minister added. “When we talk about peacekeeping missions, we know from history that first there has to be a ceasefire, a peace agreement, and only then can a traditional peacekeeping mission be deployed. But Ukraine is not there yet, which is why such a classical approach is also questionable. We need to find a new way, tailored precisely to this specific situation,” the Prime Minister said. “It is likely that after some time the international community will be able to find a way, but at the moment it is my personal opinion that this is not possible and that only military aid with modern equipment and weapons can help to bring an end to the war. This is the only effective way to stop the war,” the Prime Minister pointed out. He added that sanctions against Russia were necessary because Ukraine had to become stronger and Russia had to become weaker. “We supported the Polish proposal to strengthen the fifth package of sanctions, but sanctions – as we have learned from history – have never been the things that end wars,” the Prime Minister said.
On the question of suspending the supply of energy products from Russia, the Prime Minister said that three different energy products were imported from Russia to Europe. “We can find a new deal for oil and coal and we can stop imports and can find alternative sources. However, as regards natural gas, there is a major problem, especially for some countries. Slovenia, too, is dependent on Russian natural gas, but we are doing everything we can to find alternative sources and we are already making progress in this regard. Even if we do this immediately and if it is a common European approach, we support it,” the Prime Minister said, adding that on the one hand we are talking about money and the economic consequences of cutting off energy supplies, but on the other hand we are talking here about human lives, millions of refugees and mass suffering.
A few excerpts from the interview with Prime MInister Janez Janša are available on the link of the Polish television TVN24.