On Sunday, a senior Hungarian minister suggested something to exacerbate Budapest’s already tense ties with Kyiv: the West should provide Russia security assurances and bar Ukraine from joining NATO.
Gergely Gulyás, minister in charge of the prime minister’s office, remarked at a university event that the Western world that supports Ukraine must “grant security assurances to Russia,” but not NATO membership to the Ukrainians to achieve enduring peace.
The statement is similar to what Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said last week, that the West should strike a deal with the Russians on the new security architecture to give security and sovereignty to Ukraine, but not membership in NATO.
He further said that Ukraine would not be victorious in this conflict. Ukraine was enraged by Orbán’s June comments that Kyiv was “no longer a sovereign state” and financially “non-existent.”
In reaction to Orbán’s latest remarks, Oleh Nikolenko, a spokeswoman for Kyiv’s foreign ministry, stated that Ukraine “does not exchange its regions or sovereignty.”
The tensions between Hungary and Ukraine are expected to increase due to the persistent requests to provide Moscow security assurances.
An eighth round of military assistance to Ukraine, totaling €500 million, was stalled last week when Hungary stopped its distribution because Kyiv had labeled Budapest’s OTP bank an international war supporter.
But Hungarian President Katalin Novák visited Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy last month to mend fences and keep relations from collapsing.
Because of concerns that Kyiv is discriminating against Hungarian ethnic minorities by restricting their access to education in their native language, Hungary has barred Ukraine from attending NATO ministerial meetings since 2018.
However, Hungarian MPs are still dragging their feet on approving Sweden’s membership in NATO. Gulyás said on Sunday that Budapest initially needed clarity from Stockholm on statements where it “accused our country with worthless and unfounded charges,” albeit acknowledging that the military alliance would be strengthened if Sweden joined.