The Bucharest Nine (B9) are committed to further supporting Ukraine, and above all to the early restoration of peace, Hungarian President Katalin Novák stressed after the meeting of the Heads of State of the B9, NATO’s Central and Eastern European members, in Bratislava on Tuesday. On this topic, the states adopted a joint declaration.
The meeting of the Bucharest Nine: Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Bulgaria – was joined by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky by video call. The main topic was strengthening security and stability in Europe.
Photo: MTI/Koszticsák Szilárd
Katalin Novák highlighted the inexplicable, brutal, and tragic attacks on civilians in Ukraine. She recalled that she, like most of her colleagues, had personally expressed her condolences during her previous visit to Ukraine. The Hungarian President added that the declaration adopted on Tuesday condemns Russia’s unjustified attack and recognizes Ukraine’s right to self-defense.
The B9 must remain ready to provide humanitarian assistance, she pointed out, adding that Hungary has taken in two million refugees from Ukraine since the start of the war. Novák also drew attention to the importance of thinking about the future of Ukraine: the B9 must be present in Ukraine during and after the post-war reconstruction, she underscored.
However, it is important not to make unrealistic promises, she stressed, adding that it is crucial for Ukraine to make military decisions based on realistic expectations.
The Hungarian Head of State said that the B9 were in favor of offering Ukraine the perspective of NATO membership, as well as the Alliance’s “open door” policy. They therefore encourage Ukraine to further reforms in order to achieve NATO and EU membership, Novák said, adding that this also concerns respect for minority rights in Ukraine.
At the B9 Summit in Bratislava, the Hungarian President had a separate meeting with the Secretary General of NATO. During the meeting, Katalin Novák stressed that a strong North Atlantic Alliance is in Hungary’s best interest, as well as that a just peace in Ukraine is achieved as soon as possible.
Jens Stoltenberg also took to his Twitter account to highlight his exchange with Novák, saying he had a good discussion with the President of Hungary, a “valued ally.”
Featured photo via MTI/Koszticsák Szilárd