The Ukrainian president no longer seems to enjoy clear support in Washington. This is at least suggested by leaked information that portrays Volodymyr Zelensky in an ambiguous light. According to The Washington Post, the leaks “reveal the Ukrainian’s leader’s aggressive instincts, a marked contrast to his public-facing image as the stoic statesman weathering Russia’s brutal onslaught.”
According to some of the leaked private conversations, Zelensky was considering attacks on Russian territory. In Hungary, however, it was something else that caused the greatest uproar.
In a meeting in mid-February with Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Yuliya Svrydenko,
Zelensky suggested Ukraine ‘blow up’ the Soviet-built Druzhba (Friendship) pipeline that provides oil to Hungary,”
The Washington Post reports. “Zelensky highlighted that…Ukraine should just blow up the pipeline and destroy likely Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s industry, which is based heavily on Russian oil,” citing the document.
The newspaper added that “intelligence officials concede that Zelensky was ‘expressing rage toward Hungary and therefore could be making hyperbolic, meaningless threats,’ a qualification that does not accompany the other accounts of Zelensky suggesting bold military action.”
Zelensky is frustrated by the Hungarian government’s continued refusal to supply arms to Ukraine, its demands that Kiev restores the rights of the ethnic Hungarian minority, and its restrictions on imports of Ukrainian grain, in common with other countries in the region. Poland, which supports Ukraine, has also joined the latter measure, as Polish farmers are also affected by the duty-free, cheap Ukrainian grain. In addition, Ukrainian agriculture uses practices and chemicals that are banned in the EU.
Many in the Hungarian press and on social media expressed their dismay. The Hungarian government has not yet issued an official reaction to the leaked information. State Secretary for International Communications Zoltán Kovács expressed his concern on Twitter.
Featured photo via Facebook/Volodymyr Zelensky