Hungary reacts to situation in Ukraine

Prime Minister Viktor Orban on Monday talked to European Council President Charles Michel, and said Hungary shared the stance of the European Union on the conflict unfolding between Ukraine and Russia, the PM’s press chief said.

Talks between the leaders are ongoing, Bertalan Havasi said. Russian President Vladimir Putin announced late on Monday that Russia acknowledged two separatist regions of Ukraine as the sovereign “Republic of Donetsk” and the “Republic of Luhansk”. He ordered Russian troops to enter the regions on “peacekeeping missions” later on Monday.

In a phone call on Tuesday, Orban assured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky of Hungary’s continued support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Orban said that as part of the European coordinated response, Hungary will support the European Union’s joint efforts to settle the conflict.

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto on Tuesday morning said “we have to hope beyond hope for a diplomatic solution.” Brussels has ramped up preparations to impose sanctions on Russia in the wake of Monday’s events, Szijjarto said on Facebook. There are ongoing talks on possible steps forward, he said. “Hungary has never broken ranks with the EU on this issue. At the same time, we must not give up hope of a diplomatic solution,” he said.

Zoltan Kovacs, the state secretary for international communication and relations, said on Twitter on Tuesday that reports by British daily The Guardian and other news outlets claiming Hungary would resist efforts at a common EU position on Ukraine were fake news.

Defence Minister Tibor Benko on Tuesday ordered the deployment of Hungarian servicemen to the east of the country. Benko told a press conference after a meeting of the national security committee that Orban had instructed him to task the army with preventing any possible armed incursions into Hungarian territory. He added that the situation in Ukraine may escalate and affect Kiev and Transcarpathia, in the west of the country, so Hungarian servicemen at the border must also prepare to handle the arrival of refugees and see to other humanitarian tasks, he said.

The opposition Democratic Coalition (DK), Jobbik, and Socialist parties have proposed that parliament’s defence and law enforcement committee put the Ukraine-Russia situation on the agenda of its next meeting.

Source and photo: MTI