A recent wave of bomb threats against Hungary’s shopping malls could be part of a hybrid warfare campaign aimed at countries who do not want to ship weapons to Ukraine, József Horváth, security policy expert at Hungarian think-tank Center for Basic Rights, told daily Magyar Nemzet in an interview.
Horváth said the threats were clearly coordinated and were aimed at creating confusion or throw into question public safety in general.
“As there is a war in our immediate vicinity, one possibility is that countries which are unwilling to take an active part in the war are being punished with methods of hybrid warfare,” Horváth said. “Let us not forget that there have also been bomb threats in Serbia in recent days.”
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Besides Hungary, Serbia is one of the few countries in the region which remains steadfast in its determination not to send weapons to Ukraine.
As Remix News reported last week, simultaneous bomb threats have led to the evacuation of most Budapest shopping malls on Tuesday and several others in regional cities. Three weeks earlier there was a similar wave of bomb threats.
“The coordination is clear, and the fact that the bombing is anonymously announced for high-traffic objects makes it clear that the aim is to disturb or shake faith in public safety,” Horváth said.
Although Western media has fixated on Russia’s ability to conduct hybrid warfare, cyberattacks, and other unconventional threats, there are many actors in the world with similar capabilities. Hungary’s anti-war stance has not only been targeted by the Ukrainian government, but others have incentive to target Hungary. Russia for its part has little motive to target Hungary with such bomb threats, as Hungary and Serbia are the only European nations adamantly refusing to ship arms to Ukraine.
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There is no evidence that a Western nation is currently targeting Hungary, but extremely aggressive remarks from Western leaders directed against Hungary’s conservative government, including U.S. President Joe Biden calling the nation a “totalitarian regime,” have raised concerns about the rhetoric being directed at a fellow NATO ally. Ukraine has also directed extremely aggressive rhetoric at Hungary as of late, even accusing the country of wanting to annex a part of Ukraine.
Horváth added that during the search for the source of the threats, authorities were considering two scenarios: one was that of “a coordinated action from outside the country,y, while the other the possibility of opposition voters disgruntled by the fourth consecutive election victory of Orbán’s conservative Fidesz.