23:32 GMT18 June 2021
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Unsubstantiated accusations against Russia over the so-called Skripal case are insufficient for Bratislava to break long-term ties with Moscow, Anton Hrnko, the chairman of the Defense and Security Committee of the National Council of Slovakia, told Sputnik on Friday.

    Following the poisoning of former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the UK town of Salisbury, a number of EU member states have expelled Russian diplomats on suspicion of Moscow's involvement in the incident. Slovakia has not expelled its diplomats from Moscow, however, it has recalled its ambassador for consultations.

    "We have [had for a] long [time] good relations with Russia. And when somebody says that Russia uses a chemical weapon it is very terrible. And when it is said that only on some kind of suspicions and not on the evidence [the accusations are being made] we have to say that for us it is not enough to break good relations with our traditional partner," Hrnko said.

    Bratislava will wait for the results of the investigation into the Salisbury incident, the lawmaker stressed, adding that as soon as ample evidence emerges Slovakia will "do what is necessary."

    "Slovakia would like to be true member state of the EU and NATO, but we would like to have good relations with all of the world," Hrnko explained.

    According to the representative of the Defense and Security Committee of the Slovak Parliament, close ties with Moscow are important for Bratislava, as Slovakia has a lot of Russian military equipment in its armed forces.

    "We have still a lot of Russian military technique in our armed forces and, therefore, we need to cooperate with Russia," Hrnko said.

    The diplomatic relations between Russia and Slovakia were established in 1993. According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, the two states are cooperating in a number of areas, such as defense industry cooperation, in particular, the maintenance of MiG-29 aircraft owned by Slovakia, energy (e.g., gas deliveries) and transport (e.g., construction of railways), among others.

    READ MORE: 'Stupid Decision': Italian Ruling Parties Outraged Over Skripal Case Expulsions

    Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned by what London claims was an A234 nerve agent in England on March 4. The United Kingdom has been accusing Russia of orchestrating the poisoning. Moscow, in its turn, has denied claims that it had a role in the incident, pointing to the lack of proof represented by London to substantiate its claims.


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