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Orban: Russia couldn't 'swallow' NATO as it struggles to defeat Ukraine

by Kateryna Denisova and The Kyiv Independent news desk May 24, 2024 1:46 PM 2 min read
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban arrives at the European Council summit on Dec. 14, 2023, in Brussels, Belgium. (Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)
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The Russian military is waging "a serious and difficult war" against Ukraine, and its capabilities are "far exceeded" by NATO, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban told public radio on May 24, according to news portal Telex.

"If the Russians were strong enough to wrestle down the Ukrainians in one go, they would have done so already," the Hungarian prime minister said.

"I do not consider it logical that Russia, which cannot even defeat Ukraine, would all of a sudden come and swallow the Western world whole. The chances of this are extremely slim."

The prime minister said that Hungary is committed to the mission of protecting NATO members but is concerned about funding and supplying weapons to Ukraine, as it is not a member of the alliance.

Orban claimed that NATO's current direction may result in a clash with Russia, adding that Budapest is working to redefine its position in NATO so that it could refrain from any actions outside of the alliance's territory.

"Our lawyers and officers are hard at work to see how Hungary can maintain its NATO membership in a way that it wouldn't have to take part in NATO actions outside of NATO territory," Orban said.

Budapest has repeatedly opposed Ukraine's accession to NATO and the EU, sanctions on Russia, undermined Western aid efforts for Ukraine, and maintained close relations with Moscow throughout the full-scale war.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg proposed in April to create a $100 billion five-year fund to aid Ukraine in order to get the allied countries more involved in providing Kyiv with weapons.

Budapest will not participate in NATO's long-term plan to support Ukraine, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said in early May, calling it a "crazy mission."

French President Emmanuel Macron said that Western countries should not rule out a possible deployment of their troops in Ukraine, but most of other leaders distanced themselves from his statement.

Zelensky holds ‘focused’ call with Orban, invites him to peace summit
President Volodymyr Zelensky held “a lengthy and focused” call with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban on May 8, Zelensky wrote on X.
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