The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry considers the Slovak economy minister's statements questioning Ukraine's territorial integrity unacceptable, Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Oleh Nikolenko said.
"It is a pity that an official of a friendly state with which we have a high level of relations demonstrates a distorted perception of reality in terms of the belonging of Crimea and understanding of the sanctions imposed on the Russian Federation. Talks about returning to business as usual with Russia, which grossly violated international law by seizing Crimea by force and launching an armed aggression in Donbas, only promote impunity and encourage Russia to further aggression," Nikolenko told Interfax-Ukraine on Wednesday.
The Slovak official's comments are inconsistent with Slovakia's official stance and the European Union's consolidated position in the context of countering "Russia's aggression against Ukraine," he said.
"We demand a public refutation by Mr. Minister of his statements that do not contribute to the development of friendly Ukrainian-Slovak relations," the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesperson said.
Earlier on Wednesday, Slovak Deputy Prime Minister and Economy Minister Richard Sulik said he deemed the sanctions imposed on Russia over Crimea unsuccessful.
"Various countries should trade with each other. They [sanctions] also affected some of our exporters. Therefore, the sanctions only cause damage, and the Russians will not return Crimea anyway," he told reporters from the Slovak newspaper Pravda.
"We should look forward and build relationships," he said.
At the same time, "tension on Ukraine's eastern border does not help build relations," Sulik said.