Ukraine needs to function as a neutral buffer zone between Russia, the European Union, and NATO to prevent further Russian aggression, stated Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán on Feb. 11 during the discussion with former Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schüssel, part of the European Voices media project.
Read also: Hungarian PM Orbán tires EU, not Ukraine, says Tusk
Orbán noted Ukraine’s critical geographic position. “Ukraine’s location between Russia and the West is a given,” said Orban. “Ideally, it would act as a neutral buffer with security assurances to avoid losing more territory to Russia, which will never allow Ukraine’s accession to the EU or NATO.”
He recalled that both Ukraine and Georgia had a chance to join the EU and NATO in 2008, but Russia’s growing power has since obstructed any potential membership. Orbán responded to Schüssel’s view that a ceasefire could be seen as a defeat for Ukraine by suggesting that the real loss would be further territorial concessions without reaching an agreement.
Orbán downplayed the threat of a Russian attack on NATO members, asserting that NATO’s strength far exceeds Russia’s and thus there’s no immediate danger to Europe. He believes the issue with Russia is not about trust but demonstrating strength to ensure mutual respect for interests.
Read also: Hungary PM Orbán lifts veto on Ukrainian aid package
“We Europeans are not strong enough for the Russians to take our interests seriously,” Orbán stated. “It’s a balance of power. It’s war. We must demonstrate strength and clearly communicate to the Russians: we have our interests, they have theirs, based on which we can negotiate something.”
Orbán has faced criticism for echoing Russian positions and hesitating to support Ukraine against Russian hostilities, even referring to Russia’s actions in Ukraine as a “military operation” during a call with Vladimir Putin in October 2023.
We’re bringing the voice of Ukraine to the world. Support us with a one-time donation, or become a Patron!
Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine