Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, February 18, 2023.
Budapest – Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán renewed his call for an end to the fighting in his annual state of the country address in Ukraine and the start of peace talks, according to him, only then will it be possible to prevent casualties. He also accused the European Union of prolonging the war and Germany of leading the “war camp”. The Prime Minister of Hungary intends to maintain relations with Russia, the DPA and AP agencies reported today.
“Human lives can only be saved by a ceasefire,” Orbán said in a speech in Budapest today, according to DPA. Negotiations with Russia, which launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine almost a year ago, condition Kiev on the complete withdrawal of Russian troops. Moscow rejects this.
He also said that the European Union is partly to blame for the protracted war in Ukraine. “When Russia attacked, the West did not isolate the conflict, but elevated it to a pan-European level,” Orbán was quoted as saying by the AP agency. “The war in Ukraine is not a conflict between the armies of good and evil, but between two Slavic countries fighting each other. It is their war, not ours,” he added.
Hungary, unlike most other members of the European Union and NATO refuses to supply weapons to Ukraine and does not even allow their transportation through Hungary. He is also reluctant to support anti-Russian sanctions. Orbán, whom critics blame for an authoritarian style of government, has maintained friendly relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin since taking office in 2010, DPA recalled.
Relations between Budapest and Moscow did not cool significantly even after the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine almost a year ago. Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó continued to meet with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov. “We continue to maintain economic relations with Russia and recommend it to our alliance partners as well,” Orbán said today.
At the same time, he admitted that Hungary is isolated within the Western alliances because of its policy towards Russia. According to him, two states remain in the “camp of peace”: Hungary and the Vatican. According to him, Germany is responsible for this, because after the change in Germany's attitude towards Russia, other countries also succumbed to external pressure and joined the “war camp”, which Berlin took the lead in.
“In the beginning, the Germans did not supply weapons, only helmets,” continued Orbán. Now, however, German Leopard tanks are soon to roll “through Ukrainian territory to the east, to the Russian border”. “Perhaps there are even old maps,” said the prime minister, referring to Nazi Germany's attack against the Soviet Union at the time. ten months after winning a fourth consecutive term in parliamentary elections. Hungary's economy fell into a technical recession in the fourth quarter of 2022, while Hungary's forint currency lost 7.5 percent against the euro and 15 percent against the dollar over the past year. Inflation in Hungary is among the highest in the EU, reaching more than 25 percent, which is significantly higher than the bloc's average of around ten percent.