Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has rejected a transit permit for arms shipments to Ukraine, as well as an increase in sanctions against Russia. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj recently raised both of these demands, but Hungary brushes them off: That would contradict Hungarian interests, explained Orbán’s spokesman Bertalan Havasi.
On Thursday evening, Zelenskyy specifically addressed Orbán in a video address at the EU summit. He urged the Hungarian to take a clear position in the war between Russia and Ukraine.
Orbán’s spokesman said Hungary wanted to stay out of this war and would therefore neither send arms to Ukraine nor allow their transit. Hungary will also not agree to the extension of sanctions if they relate to imports of Russian natural gas and oil, because it is important to prevent “Hungarian families from paying the price for this war”. Most of the oil and gas consumed in Hungary comes from Russia.
However, Hungary had agreed to the previous sanctions against Russia. The ordinance in question also stipulates that arms deliveries are only possible if they do not go directly across the Hungarian-Ukrainian border, but run from Hungary to a third country. Orbán also welcomed the decision to have additional NATO soldiers in Hungary at the NATO summit on Thursday.
Up until the invasion, the Hungarian head of government maintained good relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Orbán has so far refrained from direct criticism of Putin’s actions in Ukraine.