War in Ukraine isn’t in the interest of Hungary or Ukraine

By Dénes Albert
4 Min Read

“Hungary opposes all measures that exacerbate the situation in Ukraine, but supports everything that helps to resolve the conflict through negotiations,” said Péter Szijjártó at the EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting in Brussels on Monday. One would think that all our EU colleagues agree with this attitude, which is perfectly rational for Europe — and even the only rational policy — but unfortunately the situation is not so simple this time either.

For weeks and months, we have heard nothing but that the U.S. government is fiercely threatening Russia that if it puts its foot in Ukraine, it will regret it bitterly. And various actors on the Russian side say they are not planning anything like that.

In this handout photo provided by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks to the leaders of the Foreign Intelligence Service of Ukraine during their meeting in Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, Jan. 24, 2022.(Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)

Recently, a meme spread on the Internet in Russia, with Dmitry Peskov, a Kremlin spokesman, whispering in the ears of President Vladimir Putin that Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Zelensky, who had previously called, was crying, threatening and begging to finally occupy Ukraine. This has obviously not happened, but many agree with the message of the meme’s author: the Kiev leadership is trying to cover up its own weakness by constantly arousing hysteria.

The Biden administration is a partner in this, at the level of rhetoric, and the statements are so harsh that we have already started picturing something like the movie “Air Force One,” where the president personally takes up the fight against terrorists. However, Joe Biden is obviously not Harrison Ford, and he is a time bomb in terms of communication, so from last week’s statement, we finally got a picture of what’s behind the scenes in the real-world action movie.

Biden was just blabbering at a press conference about not eating his porridge so hot. Speaking about a possible NATO response to the Russians, he said that if Russian troops cross the Ukrainian border, it would be considered an invasion and Moscow would be held accountable for it, for example, it could expect economic consequences. However, if it is just a “minor transgression,” there may be disagreements between the United States and its allies over what to do.

Whatever the Kiev leadership wants, Ukraine will not become a member of NATO in the foreseeable future. And arming the country is a sensitive issue. It is one thing to explain this by saying that Ukraine needs to defend itself if necessary, but it is another thing if it all seems to be from Moscow that the end goal of armaments is something that threatens Russia.

So, now it seems that Putin is getting tired of it, Zelensky would give up an arm to finally have an excuse to pose in a uniform, while Biden and his European allies are probably ready to fight to the last soldier for Ukraine, provided that soldier is Ukrainian.

Returning to Szijjártó’s statement: the Hungarian interest is clear. We can only lose if East and West go against each other.

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