Russian nationalist and staunchly pro-Putin motorbike club the Night Wolves’ base in Slovakia is a risk to the safety of the country and a mockery of Bratislava’s policy on Russia and Ukraine, Slovak President Andrej Kiska said on July 31.
Kiska was reacting to the news that the Night Wolves established a base in the village of Dolna Krupa, some 70 kilometres northeast of Bratislava. The Night Wolves are notorious for their ties to the Russian President Vladimir Putin and have been accused of providing help to pro-Russian separatists active in eastern Ukraine. The group says that the base will be a museum commemorating World War Two.
The group is also under US sanctions. The Night Wolves have a history of clashing with authorities in various CEE countries. Poland denied them entry in 2015 when the Night Wolves tried to ride through the country in a recreation of the Soviet Army’s march to Berlin during World War Two.
“The Night Wolves joined the military units in the Crimea alongside the Russian army. Several members received state awards in Russia. The founder of the Night Wolves is on the sanction list for participation in the annexation of the Crimea and must not travel to any of the EU member states. So to be clear, they are no harmless motorcycle lovers,” Kiska said in a statement.
“The annexation of part of Ukraine [is a] violation of international law that the government of the Slovak Republic does not recognise,” Kiska added.
The Slovak president also pledged action against the Night Wolves, dismissing waiting for the controversial group to break law as a “poor security strategy.”
“I therefore urge the government to provide the security forces with all the necessary conditions for effective action against the dubious societies that are spreading throughout our country,” Kiska said.
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