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Orbán says Ukraine should be “buffer zone” outside EU and NATO

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Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has said that Ukraine should be left as a “buffer zone” between Russia and the West, which would provide certain security guarantees but not admit Ukraine as a member of the EU or NATO.

Source: Orbán in a conversation with former Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schüssel as part of the European Voices media project; an excerpt from the conversation published by Die Presse has attracted considerable attention in the Hungarian media, European Pravda writes

Quote: “Whether you like it or not, whether Ukrainians like it or not, Ukraine is where it is on the map. The best prospect is for it to be a buffer zone between Russia and the West – with security guarantees, of course. If that doesn’t work, Ukraine will continue losing territory.

Russia will destroy Ukraine again and again and again. Russia will never accept having an EU and NATO member like Ukraine on its borders, never.”

Details: At the same time, the Hungarian prime minister believes that Ukraine and Georgia could have joined the EU and NATO in 2008, but that opportunity was missed, and with it went “Ukraine’s prospects for future membership of the EU and NATO”.

In response to Schüssel’s remark that a ceasefire now would mean defeat for Ukraine, Orbán said that the assessment may depend on “how we look at the future”, as Ukraine could lose even more territory while the hot phase of the war continues.

The Hungarian prime minister also disagreed with arguments that Ukraine’s membership would protect Europe, as almost all EU members are already members of NATO, and the alliance is stronger than Russia.

“There is no danger of Russia attacking a NATO member state,” Orbán said.

He also expressed the opinion that Russia will never take Ukraine seriously as a partner in negotiations – “only the US and maybe the EU”.

Schüssel noted that there is no certainty that agreements with Russia can be trusted. Orbán replied that in his opinion, “it is not a question of trust, but of strength”.

“We Europeans are not strong enough for the Russians to take us seriously. This is a power play. This is a war. We must demonstrate strength and clearly convey to the Russians: we have our own interests, they have theirs, and on this basis, we can negotiate something,” Orbán said.

He said he does not believe the Russian-Ukrainian war will end in 2024, and that it is necessary to “at least ensure a ceasefire and bring about a situation in which negotiations can be conducted”.

In addition, Orbán believes that Europe is unable to support Ukraine with enough weapons because the societies of European countries “already think the aid is too much”.

“We cannot afford to help Ukraine until it wins militarily,” the Hungarian prime minister added.

Background:

  • Hungary’s foreign minister complained that the Hungarian authorities were being labelled “Putin’s friends” when in fact they were simply raising “strategic issues”.

  • Meanwhile, the Swedish far-right announced that they would leave their group in the European Parliament if Orbán’s party was admitted.

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