Slovakia Accuses Russia of 'Interference' in Its Parliamentary Elections and Summons Ambassador
Slovakia has accused Russia of 'interference' in its legislative parliamentary elections held on Saturday, and has summoned the Russian diplomat following statements from the head of Russian foreign intelligence claiming 'interference' by Washington in Slovakia's domestic politics, as reported by The Slovak Spectator.
"We consider such deliberately spread disinformation as unacceptable interference by the Russian Federation in the electoral process in the Slovak Republic," stated the Slovak Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
In its statement released before Slovakia's elections, Russia's head of foreign intelligence, Sergei Naryshkin, referred to Progressive Slovakia as a 'US proxy' and claimed that Washington had 'increased its interference in Slovakia's domestic political situation.'
In response, Slovakia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs called in a Russian embassy employee on Monday and urged Moscow to 'cease its disinformation activities directed against Slovakia.'
"The department of diplomacy strongly protests against untrue statements by Russian intelligence that cast doubt on the honesty of free and democratic elections in Slovakia. Such deliberate dissemination of disinformation is unacceptable interference by the Russian Federation in the electoral process of the Slovak Republic, which, as an independent, sovereign, and democratic state, guarantees fair and transparent elections," the statement read.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Slovak Republic called on Russia to halt its disinformation activities targeting Slovakia, actions that undermine relations and run counter to the principles of international relations.
It is worth noting that in the run-up to and on the day of Slovakia's elections, disinformation, including pro-Russian propaganda, falsehoods about the situation in Ukraine, and the spread of hate speech against migrants, inundated the country.
Former Slovak Defence Minister Jaroslav Naď accused Russia of paying Slovak citizens to sway the elections in favour of Fico's Smer-SD party in May.
Since Russia's unlawful annexation of Crimea in 2014, Slovakia has been a primary target of disinformation campaigns from Moscow, with the Russian embassy in Slovakia being a well-known source of propaganda.