Row centres on remarks by Russia’s foreign intelligence service director about US ‘interference’ in the country.
Slovakia has accused Moscow of interfering in its parliamentary elections and summoned a Russian embassy official to protest statements by Moscow’s foreign intelligence service director, Sergey Naryshkin.
Slovakia’s Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs said on Monday that it summoned a Russian embassy representative who spoke about “interference” by the United States in the country, an accusation the ministry called false.
It said the comments were made on the eve of the Slovak parliamentary elections on Saturday when a moratorium on information that may benefit or harm candidates was in place.
“The department of diplomacy strongly protests against the false statement of Russian intelligence which cast doubt on the integrity of the free and democratic election in Slovakia,” the ministry said.
“We consider such deliberately spread of disinformation to be unacceptable interference by the Russian Federation in the election process.”
It called on Russia to cease all disinformation activities aimed at Slovakia.
The Russian embassy in Slovakia rejected the allegations.
“Unlike some of Slovakia’s current allies, we do not interfere with internal affairs of other countries, we do not take part in regime changes and various ‘colour’ revolutions,” it said on Facebook.
Slovakia’s president on Monday asked the leader of the winning party to try to form a coalition government.
Populist former Prime Minister Robert Fico and his leftist Smer, or Direction, party captured 22.9 percent of the vote on Saturday. It will have 42 seats in the 150-seat parliament.
If he succeeds in forming a coalition government, Fico, 59, will become prime minister for the fourth time.
In a televised address to the nation on Monday, President Zuzana Caputova stressed that the new government would have to be “a government which will serve all citizens”.
Fico has repeatedly attacked the liberal president, accusing her of being an American agent and serving foreign interests. Caputova has sued him for the remarks.