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Slovakia elects pro-Russian politician who wants to cut military support for Ukraine

AYESHA RASCOE, HOST:

Russia has a new friend in Europe. Slovakia, Ukraine's neighbor, just concluded parliamentary elections, and a party led by a pro-Russian politician came out on top. The leader is Robert Fico. He's a two-time prime minister but was ousted in 2018 after mass protests over the murder of a journalist who was investigating government corruption. This time around, Fico campaigned on an anti-immigration, anti-LGBTQ+ and an anti-American platform. He wants to cut military support for Ukraine amid Russia's invasion and opposes EU sanctions on Russia. Instead of arming Ukraine, Fico says the West should help Russia and Ukraine hatch a deal to end the war. Up to now, Slovakia, a NATO member, supported Ukraine's effort to repel Russia. It sent arms and military equipment into Ukraine and took in refugees. But now many worry about fractures within NATO with the rise of Fico.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Ayesha Rascoe is a White House correspondent for NPR. She is currently covering her third presidential administration. Rascoe's White House coverage has included a number of high profile foreign trips, including President Trump's 2019 summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Hanoi, Vietnam, and President Obama's final NATO summit in Warsaw, Poland in 2016. As a part of the White House team, she's also a regular on the NPR Politics Podcast.