RussiaFebruary 19 2023, 8:46 am

Hungary’s Orban Breaks With EU Over Russia Relations Amid Ukraine Crisis

Feb­ru­ary 19, 2023 As ten­sions esca­late between Rus­sia and Ukraine, and sev­er­al Euro­pean coun­tries pledge to sup­port Kyiv with mil­i­tary aid, Hun­gary’s Prime Min­is­ter Vik­tor Orban has tak­en a dif­fer­ent stance. He has vowed to main­tain rela­tions with Moscow, say­ing that cut­ting off ties with Rus­sia would not be in Hun­gary’s nation­al interest.

Orban deliv­ered his annu­al state of the nation speech on Sat­ur­day, Feb­ru­ary 18, 2023, where he crit­i­cized the Euro­pean Union for pro­long­ing the war in Ukraine by impos­ing sanc­tions on Rus­sia. He said that Europe was “indi­rect­ly at war with Rus­sia” and “drift­ing into” a con­flict between two Slav­ic countries.

He also said that Hun­gary would con­tin­ue to trade with Rus­sia, espe­cial­ly in the ener­gy sec­tor. Hun­gary is heav­i­ly reliant on Rus­sia for its nat­ur­al gas sup­plies and has signed a deal with Moscow to expand its sole nuclear pow­er plant. Orban argued that main­tain­ing eco­nom­ic rela­tions with Rus­sia was essen­tial for Hun­gary’s sov­er­eign­ty and security.

Orban’s remarks have drawn crit­i­cism from some of his fel­low EU lead­ers, who have accused him of under­min­ing the bloc’s uni­ty and sol­i­dar­i­ty with Ukraine. Orban has often clashed with Brus­sels over issues such as migra­tion, the of law, and media free­dom. He has also cul­ti­vat­ed close ties with author­i­tar­i­an lead­ers such as Rus­si­a’s Vladimir Putin and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Orban said that while he sup­port­ed pro­vid­ing human­i­tar­i­an aid and refuge to Ukraini­ans flee­ing the war, he dis­agreed with send­ing weapons or troops to Kyiv. He said such actions would only esca­late the vio­lence and endan­ger Europe’s peace.

A Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report (GIOR) report explains that Russ­ian Pres­i­dent Putin has expressed an inter­est in Rus­sia becom­ing the ide­o­log­i­cal cen­ter of a new glob­al con­ser­v­a­tive alliance, and Euro­pean far-right lead­ers have tak­en pro-Russ­ian posi­tions based on a sim­i­lar ide­ol­o­gy. Accord­ing to the report. Hun­gary is at the cen­ter of a devel­op­ing alliance between Euro­pean far-right nation­al­ists and Amer­i­can con­ser­v­a­tives that Rus­sia could poten­tial­ly exploit for use in infor­ma­tion war­fare. This alliance oper­ates under the rubric of “Nation­al Con­ser­vatism,” cen­tered on nation­al sov­er­eign­ty, cul­tur­al iden­ti­ty, and oppo­si­tion to glob­al insti­tu­tions and rep­re­sent­ing a poten­tial­ly rad­i­cal change for the US con­ser­v­a­tive move­ment away from long-held Rea­gan-era philosophies.






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