3 mar 2022 8:58 p.m
Hungary has reiterated its stance on the war in Ukraine and stressed that it will not allow any military aid to pass through Hungarian territory. The reason given was that this would endanger the security of the approximately 100,000 ethnic Hungarians in Ukraine.
Hungary will not allow the transfer of troops or arms to Ukraine given the ongoing military conflict with Russia, Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said on Wednesday, reaffirming Budapest’s stance.
“We, like our allies, have decided not to send troops or weapons. And we do not allow transit shipments of lethal weapons through Hungary,” the minister said during a session of the United Nations Human Rights Council.
Hungary has deployed additional troops on its eastern borders to prevent a possible incursion by unspecified armed groups from neighboring Ukraine, Szijjártó added. Budapest wants to protect its citizens as well as ethnic Hungarians living in western Ukraine amid the conflict, he said. Military transports could easily become the target of possible attacks.
The day before, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán had declared that he would not allow arms deliveries from the West to Ukraine to go through Hungarian territory. The Hungarian State News Agency MTI Orbán quoted from a statement on Monday evening as saying:
“We have decided that we will not let any such deliveries through.”
The Hungarian Prime Minister justified the decision not to allow arms deliveries through Hungary with the fact that more than 100,000 ethnic Hungarians live in the western Ukrainian region of Transcarpathia. Their safety would be endangered by such deliveries. Hungary shares a 140-kilometer border with Ukraine.
Szijjártó called on Russia and Ukraine to end hostilities and on both sides of the war to focus on diplomacy instead. Budapest is ready to host “the negotiations necessary to resolve the conflict” between Moscow and Kyiv. In Monday evening’s statement, Orbán went on to say:
“It is in the interest of the Hungarian people that Hungary stays out of this war.”
For this reason, Hungary will send neither weapons nor soldiers to the war zone.
Russia launched a large-scale military offensive on Ukraine last week, announcing that the neighboring country must be “denazified” and “demilitarized.” Moscow argued the offensive was the only way to end the bloodshed in eastern Ukraine and prevent Kyiv from launching an all-out attack on the breakaway republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. However, Kyiv firmly denied these allegations, stressing that it had no plans to retake the breakaway regions by force and that the invasion was not provoked.
Donetsk and Lugansk declared their independence from Ukraine in 2014 after the Maidan coup that deposed Ukraine’s democratically elected government. The uprising triggered a military operation by the new Kiev authorities in the east of the country. Although active fighting ended with the Minsk Accords of 2014-15, the roadmap for exiting the crisis was never really implemented, and hostilities in the region continued at low intensity for years.
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