Hungary must stay out of the military conflict between Russia and Ukraine, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said on Thursday. “What matters most to us is the security of the Hungarian people,” he added.
In a video on Facebook, Orbán said this meant that sending either troops or military equipment to Ukraine was “out of the question, though we will, of course, provide humanitarian aid”.
“Russia this morning attacked Ukraine with military force, so the operative board for national security held a meeting,” the prime minister said.
Orbán said the government also rejected proposals by the left-wing parties which he said endangered Hungary’s energy and gas supply and threatened caps on household utility bills. (The opposition has not, however, voiced direct support for sending weapons or soldiers to Ukraine. In an interview with ATV News, Péter Márki-Zay, leader of the opposition’s United for Hungary movement, stated that in this case, NATO decisions must be followed.)
The prime minister also said that Hungary has deployed troops and police officers near the border with Ukraine. He added that Hungary could expect to receive an increasing number of Ukrainian refugees. “We are prepared to provide care to them and we’ll be capable of meeting this challenge quickly and effectively,” he said.
“Together with our European Union and NATO allies, we condemn Russia’s military attack,” Orbán said, noting that EU leaders will hold an emergency summit to discuss the conflict this evening.
Orbán said he believed Europe would remain united on the issue and could adopt joint response measures.
Featured photo: PM Viktor Orbán and Defence Minister Tibor Benkő. Photo by Zoltán Fischer/PM’s Press Office