(Bloomberg) -- Poland’s premier admonished his Slovak counterpart at a high-level meeting in Prague over his criticism of military aid to Ukraine, laying bare European divisions over the region’s backing for Kyiv.

Prime Minister Robert Fico of Slovakia, who returned to office last year on a campaign to halt weapon shipments to Kyiv, has intensified his condemnation of arms deliveries to neighboring Ukraine, putting him in line with his Hungarian counterpart, Viktor Orban. 

At a meeting of the so-called Visegrad Four – Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia — in Prague on Tuesday, Fico said that sending military equipment only prolonged the two-year war and that the European Union should instead promote negotiations to end the conflict. 

“Guess, Robert, where would be the border between Russia and Ukraine without our assistance,” Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk retorted in English at a press conference of the four leaders. “I think it’s a much more interesting question.”

The tense moment undermined initial efforts by the leaders – including Orban and Czech premier Petr Fiala – to make a show of harmony, touting common positions on the bloc’s agriculture or migration policies. 

But the respite didn’t last. While Tusk and Fiala are ardent backers of Ukraine in its war against Russia, Orban and Fico have criticized sanctions targeting the Kremlin. 

Orban, who blocked the EU’s €50 billion ($54 billion) aid package for over a month — and even a joint statement marking two years of war last week — stood in Prague alongside Fiala, who returned from a meeting of European leaders in Paris where he spearheaded an effort to buy hundreds of thousands of rounds of ammunition outside Europe to help Ukraine fight Russia. 

The once-tight bonds within the Visegrad alliance, dating back to the fall of communism and an attempt to unite as a faction once under Soviet domination, have frayed since the nations joined the EU and NATO. All four have elected governments at various points that came under EU scrutiny for straying from the rule of law and tolerating widespread corruption. 

For his part, Fico’s new government has drawn warnings from the EU and nationwide protests for rewriting the criminal code and scrapping a special prosecutor’s office. At the press conference, a Slovak reporter asked if his anti-Western rhetoric would isolate the country. 

“I’d like to ask you, please don’t embarrass Slovak media,” Fico, who has attacked journalists and civic groups, said to the reporter after the briefing. 

--With assistance from Daniel Hornak.

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