Slovakia’s Prime Minister, Robert Fico, will visit Ukraine on Wednesday, just days after claiming that Ukraine was not a sovereign nation, and that it would have to cede territory to Russia in order to reach any peace agreement.

Fico’s administration announced on Monday that he would meet would meet with Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal in the border city of Uzhhorod, AFP reported.

On Saturday, the populist Slovak leader said, “There must be some kind of compromise. Why do they [Ukrainians] expect the Russians to leave Crimea, Donbas, and Luhansk? It’s not realistic.” 

The pro-Moscow Fico, who has opposed international sanctions on Russia, had also said that Ukraine was “not an independent and sovereign country” and that Kyiv was under “the total influence and control of the United States.”

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Kyiv immediately took issue with his remarks. Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko retorted that there could be “no compromise on territorial integrity… neither for Ukraine, nor for Slovakia, nor for any other country.”

“Ukraine and its partners are making efforts to withdraw Russians from Crimea, Donbas, and Luhansk so that they do not go further, including to Kosice, Presov, and other Slovak regions,” Nikolenko said.

Fico, who earned a fourth term as prime minister in December after his leftist-populist party ran under the slogan, “Not a Single Round,” vowed to cease all weapon shipments to Ukraine. Last week, however, Slovakia’s parliament gave the green light to the defense ministry to approve arms exports to Ukraine. (The nation’s defense ministry is a majority shareholder in one of Slovakia’s largest weapons manufacturers.)

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Fico is slated to meet with Shmyhal on Wednesday morning, and then will travel to Berlin for a sit-down with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

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