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Hungary's parliament building in a photo on Dec. 13, 2021. (Ludovic Marin/AFP via Getty Images)
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Hungary plans to bring a vote on Sweden's NATO accession on Feb. 26, said Mate Kocsis, the head of the ruling Fidesz party in parliament, in a post on Facebook on Feb. 20.

Sweden and Finland applied to join the alliance in 2022 after Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, but their accession was held up by objections from Turkey and Hungary. Finland joined NATO in April 2023.

After Turkey formally ratified Sweden's NATO membership on Jan. 25, Hungary remains the only NATO member yet to approve Sweden's application.

Fidesz, which has a supermajority in parliament, has pledged its support for Sweden's ratification, all but ensuring its passage if brought to a vote.

Kocsis was unequivocal in his prognosis of the outcome, saying that "Sweden will join NATO."

A bipartisan delegation of U.S. senators visited Budapest on Feb. 18 in the latest bid from other alliance members to urge Hungary to finally approve Sweden's accession after more than a year of delays.  

"With accession, Hungary and your prime minister (Viktor Orban) will be doing a great service to freedom-loving nations worldwide," said Senator Thom Tillis at a press conference on Feb. 18.

Hungarian officials declined to meet with the delegation, which struck Senator Chris Murphy as "strange and concerning." At the same time, Murphy acknowledged that the decision was ultimately up to Orban.

"We are wise enough about politics here to know that if Orban wants this to happen, then the parliament can move forward," Murphy said.

Hungary and Ukraine have had a contentious relationship that has worsened since the beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion. Orban has maintained close ties with Russia, bucking the united front that the EU has tried to present in support of Ukraine.

Despite repeatedly displaying obstructionist behavior on EU actions in support of Ukraine and in opposition to Russia, Hungary has ultimately approved 12 previous EU sanctions packages. Budapest signaled it would oppose the upcoming 13th round of EU sanctions, but Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said on Feb. 19 that Hungary would not obstruct its approval.

After blocking 50 billion euros ($54 billion) in EU aid for Ukraine in December 2023, Orban reversed course earlier in February and voted for the package, claiming that he had received guarantees that none of Hungary's funds would go to Ukraine.

Swedish minister reaffirms willingness to send jets to Ukraine after finalizing NATO bid
Sweden is open to providing Ukraine with modern fighter jets, but first needs a full-fledged NATO membership and the security provided by Article 5, Swedish Defense Minister Pal Jonson said on Feb. 16 at the Munich Security Conference, according to a Kyiv Independent reporter.
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8:28 PM

FT: Russia may be gearing up for large-scale offensive against Ukraine.

Russian forces may be preparing for a large-scale offensive in late spring or summer, aiming to capture more land in Ukraine's partially-occupied Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia oblasts, the Financial Times reported on April 13, citing unnamed Ukrainian and Western officials.
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