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Hungarian opposition leader won't support military aid to Ukraine

by Abbey Fenbert June 19, 2024 3:23 AM 2 min read
Oppostion leader Peter Magyar holds the Hungarian flag at a campaign rally at the Heroes' Square on June 8, 2024 in Budapest, Hungary. (Janos Kummer/Getty Images)
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Hungarian opposition leader Peter Magyar said on June 18 that he supports Ukraine's right to self defense but does not support sending weapons to Kyiv, Politico reported.

Magyar's TISZA party won seven seats in the recent European Parliament elections, chipping away at the dominance of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban's far-right Fidesz party. Magyar has emerged as Orban's most serious opponent and hopes to challenge him in the 2026 national elections.

Speaking to journalists after bringing his delegation into European Parliament, Magyar clarified his stance against providing weapons to Ukraine.

"We share the position of the (Hungarian) government: We will not send troops or weapons to Ukraine from Hungary. You know the sensitive situation of Hungary in that war," Magyar said.

Magyar and his MEPs from TISZA entered the European Parliament as part of the European People's Party (EPP) group. EPP leaders including European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and party chief Manfred Weber made acceptance into the EPP grouping conditional on support for Ukraine.

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Hungary under Orban's leadership has remained Moscow's closest ally in the EU. Orban has repeatedly obstructed aid for Ukraine and opposed Kyiv's NATO and EU accession.

Weber reportedly negotiated directly with Magyar regarding Ukraine in the week before the new MEPs' arrival.

"I think the EPP understood the special, sensitive Hungarian situation in that war," Magyar said.

"But we will support with all other manner and tools of course [the] Ukrainian people."

Magyar reiterated support for Ukraine's "independence and sovereignty" and characterized Russian President Vladimir Putin as an aggressor.  

"Everything he says in relation to Ukraine and the war, the Orban propaganda machine uses against him," an EPP spokesperson told Politico.

"So it is very clear why he is prudent about that."

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