Viktor Orbán and his government are no strangers to “difficult” differences over the European approach to the war in Ukraine. Solidarity with Kyiv, yes, but with caution. Perhaps condemnation of Russia, but with a thousand mitigating circumstances.
The strategy of “differentiation,” which is used primarily by domestic public opinion, has been focused over the past year primarily on the response within the EU – on successive packages of sanctions against Moscow, as well as on arms supplies to KyivHowever, Hungary has rarely gone so far as to point the finger directly at neighboring Ukraine, as it is doing today. The subject of the dispute: the possible presence of Kyiv’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba at a meeting with his counterparts from the Atlantic Alliance.
The invitation to Kuleba, said Budapest’s head of diplomacy, Peter Szijjarto, would be considered a “violation of NATO’s unity.” Hungary, the minister reminded, views Ukraine’s integration into NATO as a smokescreen because of the conflict over the rights of Hungarian citizens living in the Ukrainian region of Zakarpattia. “We will support Kyiv’s efforts to integrate into NATO only if it restores their rights,” Szijjarto said.
Meanwhile, a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission, which has not met since 2017 due to Hungary’s opposition, took place yesterday in Brussels.
There is a tendency that no matter what Europe or NATO does to stop the war, Hungary led by pro-Russian President Orban, is always at the center of attention, vetoing everything. This applies not only to Ukraine, where they oppose Ukraine’s accession to NATO and arms supplies but also to Finland and Sweden’s accession to NATO.
Perhaps we should think about finding a way to change the NATO charter or other methods of solving problems.