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Politico: Hungary might secretly help transfer arms to Ukraine while France, Italy delay air defense delivery

by The Kyiv Independent news desk April 14, 2023 3:02 PM 2 min read
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Hungary may be secretly helping with the delivery of weapons to Ukraine by letting allies use its airspace, according to unverified U.S. intelligence documents reviewed by Politico following their leak.

One of the leaked documents describes a plan for Ukrainian pilots to fly on donated helicopters from Croatia to Ukraine "through Hungarian airspace," Politico wrote on April 14.

If true, the information would not only show Hungary passing arms through its skies despite its public promises to ban such transfer but also contradict media reports that helicopters would be delivered by land or flights to Poland, according to the publication.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February last year, Hungary has condemned the war but refused to supply Ukraine with weapons. The country states that sanctions and the arms supply are not measures that will bring peace. Budapest also threatened to veto certain EU sanctions against Moscow, such as the ones related to nuclear energy, and held up adopting a major 18 billion euro EU funding package to Kyiv.

Another document, allegedly found by Politico in a larger trove of U.S. highly sensitive papers leaked online, claims France having told Italy on Feb. 22 that the SAMP-T air defense systems jointly pledged to Ukraine would not be ready for delivery until June.

In early February, the Italian defense ministry said the two sides had agreed to deliver the air defense systems to Ukraine "in the spring of 2023," according to ANSA news outlet.

French Minister of the Armed Forces Sebastien Lecornu told Le Figaro in an interview published on March 28 that France would "very soon" deliver SAMP/T air defense systems. Ukrainian troops have already finished training on these systems.

The leak of U.S. military and intelligence documents was first spotted on the online media platform Discord. The Pentagon has since launched an investigation into the source of the leaks, which remains unknown.

The information in the leaked documents covers a range of issues relating to Russia's all-out war in Ukraine, including a prediction that the war will continue "well beyond" 2023.

Although Ukrainian officials originally dismissed the documents as "fake," a source close to President Volodymyr Zelensky told CNN that Kyiv had changed some of its military plans following the leak.

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