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News > Hungary

Orban Skips NATO Eastern Flank Leaders Meeting

  • Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. Feb. 22, 2023.

    Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. Feb. 22, 2023. | Photo: Twitter/@ToyHok

Published 22 February 2023

The Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, has declared since the beginning of Russia's special military operation in Ukraine the neutrality of Budapest. 

On Wednesday, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban was absent from a meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden and leaders of NATO's eastern flank.
In his place was the country's ceremonial president, Katalin Novak. 

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Since the beginning of Russia's special military operation in Ukraine, the Hungarian prime minister has declared Budapest's neutrality and refused to allow the transfer of weapons to Kiev through the country's territory.

"It is necessary to end this [conflict] immediately, because if there is no ceasefire and peace talks at this time, there will be a huge problem," Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said today, warning about the increased risk of a possible nuclear crisis. 

"Let's not make the situation worse, the war must end," said Szijjarto, who considered that "after watching and listening to the speeches of the U.S. and Russian presidents yesterday, I think they would have done a much greater service to humanity by talking to each other."

During the meeting with the leaders of NATO's eastern flank, Biden did not address the possibility of peace talks or a cease-fire. The U.S. President boasted of NATO's strength: "We are not only strong as before, we are stronger," he said. 

On Tuesday night in Warsaw, on the eve of the first anniversary of Russia's special military operation in Ukraine, Biden blamed Russia's President Vladimir Putin for the current conflict and suggested that its end depends on capitulation to Ukraine and its Western allies.

Russia has on several occasions reiterated its conditions for peace in Ukraine, namely security for Crimea and Donbass, and Ukrainian neutrality.

In this regard, Putin said Tuesday in his annual address to the State Duma and Federation Council that Russia's pursuit of a dialogue with the West has been met with hypocrisy by "NATO's expansion to our borders, and the creation of new areas of deployment for missile defense in Europe and Asia."

He referred to the 2014 coup in Kiev, backed by the U.S., and the war in Donbass, noting that Russia did "everything in our power" to resolve the Ukraine crisis "by peaceful means." 

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