Orbán advises Ukraine to surrender

While Western countries are supplying Ukraine with weapons, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban is looking the other way and questioning Ukraine’s sovereignty, writes Politico.
Hungary’s prime minister is questioning Ukraine’s viability and right to independence at a time when Ukrainian flags are flying in European capitals and western tanks are being sent to help. Posters calling for a stand against the sanctions can be seen on the streets of Budapest.
Orbán has recently announced that Ukraine is now like Afghanistan, Vladimir Putin will not lose and stated that Ukraine is currently a country without leadership. This message is completely opposite to the one prevailing in the European Union and NATO.

Orbán’s remarks have sparked anger in Ukraine, and it has been reported that the Hungarian ambassador will be summoned to explain these views.

In Budapest, Orbán’s approach is seen as partly a political ploy to divert attention from Hungary’s economic problems and attract nationalist voters. However, Orbán also wants to maintain good relations with the Kremlin in the long term.
Whatever Orbán’s goals, his actions show the growing gap between Hungarian politics and the rest of the European Union and NATO countries. US Ambassador to Hungary David Pressman said Washington supports Hungary’s call for peace, but it should be addressed to Vladimir Putin. He added that the US will continue to stand firm in support of the victims.
Western allies are providing increasing military support to Ukraine, but Hungary is increasingly insisting that Kyiv stop resisting. On the 27th of January, Orbán said on state radio that Hungary’s humanity and morality demand a cease-fire, not weapons.
Experts explain that Orban is not against Ukrainians.

His rhetoric is a simple attempt to sit on two chairs at the same time and also score political points at home.

When Russia, which Orbán tries to befriend, invaded Ukraine, he condemned the invasion but did not abandon his friendly attitude towards Russia.
Hungary continues to develop a nuclear power plant project with Russia’s Rosenergatom, and its officials continue to visit Russia to discuss energy deals. Hungary depends on Russian gas supplies, and while other countries tried to reduce this dependence last year, Orbán’s government signed more and more contracts with Russia.

At home, Orbáns is blaming Brussels for Hungary’s economic problems.

The problematic relations between Hungary and Ukraine have a long history, mainly due to the rights of the Hungarian-speaking people of Western Ukraine. Orbán’s stance since the start of the war has only increased tensions.
Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze, chair of the Ukrainian parliament’s committee on EU integration, answering the question about Orbán’s comments, said that, unfortunately, it is definitely Russian rhetoric, and expressed her surprise that the European Union and NATO have not reacted.
Orbán’s critics in the Hungarian parliament distanced themselves from his statements and pointed out that what the prime minister said did not reflect the opinion of all Hungarians. The Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs says that the government is guided by good intentions. In response to the summons of Hungary’s ambassador to Ukraine, the ministry said that the war is causing many deaths and turning Ukraine into a wasteland:

«This is why Hungary wants peace and an immediate cease-fire instead of arms deliveries.»

In conversations with conservative politicians from other countries, Orban has hinted that other politicians also agree with him, but are afraid to say it out loud.
There is also believed to be another reason for Orbán’s vocal criticism of the West. Businessmen close to the ruling party continue to benefit from economic ties to Moscow, and Orbán is therefore trying to cement his image as an opponent of sanctions.
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