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Guardian: Orban allies to meet Republicans to discuss end of Ukraine aid

by The Kyiv Independent news desk December 10, 2023 7:59 PM 2 min read
Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban gives his speech in Hungexpo Fair and Exhibition Centre of Budapest on Nov. 18, 2023. (Attila Kisbenedek/AFP via Getty Images)
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Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban's allies are reportedly set to meet with U.S. Republicans in Washington for a closed-door meeting to lobby for the end of military aid to Ukraine, the Guardian reported on Dec. 10.

Members of the Hungarian Institute of International Affairs and staff from the Hungarian embassy in Washington will attend a two-day event hosted by the conservative Heritage Foundation thinktank on Dec. 11, the Guardian wrote.

The Guardian reported, citing a republican source, that some of the attendees, including Republican members of Congress, have been invited to join closed-door meetings after the first day of the event.

“Orban is confident that the Ukraine aid will not pass in Congress," a diplomatic source told the Guardian. "That is why he is trying to block assistance from the EU as well.”

Republicans in the U.S. Senate blocked a supplemental funding bill that included $61 billion in military and humanitarian aid for Ukraine in a procedural vote held on Dec. 6.

Funding for Ukraine has become a source of controversy among U.S. lawmakers in recent months.

Since the start of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Hungary has repeatedly obstructed EU support for Kyiv, opposed sanctions against Russia, and threatened to thwart Ukraine's EU aspirations.

Orban, who maintains close ties with the Kremlin, has refused to provide military aid to Ukraine and claimed that Kyiv's counteroffensive was destined to fail.

Orban has recently threatened to block 50 billion euros worth of EU support for Ukraine and the start of membership negotiations ahead of an EU leaders' meeting on Dec. 14 that will include these topics.

The Hungarian leader is engaged in a long-running spat with Brussels, which is withholding 22 billion euros allocated for Hungary's economic development over fears of democratic backsliding and rule-of-law issues.

According to the Guardian's sources, the European Commission decided to unlock $10.7 billion since Budapest has completed necessary judicial reforms. The remaining funds will reportedly remain blocked due to a lack of compliance with other rule-of-law criteria.

Guardian: EU set to unlock part of frozen funds for Hungary
The European Commission is expected to unlock 10 billion euros ($10.7 billion) in frozen funds for Hungary, the Guardian reported on Dec. 8, citing anonymous diplomatic sources.

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