PM Orbán: Brussels’ sanctions have failed; we need a ceasefire and peace talks between Russia and Ukraine

In his regular Friday morning interview on Kossuth Rádió, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán spoke about the need for immediate peace talks between the warring parties, Hungary’s fight against inflation brought on by Brussels’ failed sanctions, and the increasing migration pressure on our borders.

Kicking off his interview this morning on Kossuth Rádió, Prime Minister Orbán said that while there are many leaders who speak about winning the war in Ukraine, others, including Hungary, are calling for a ceasefire.

“Hungary doesn't need to be told what the brutality associated with the Soviet Army was like, and what it's like to fight the Russians now, because if you go outside, and October 23 is coming up, and you go to Plot 301 [the resting place of victims of the reprisals following the 1956 revolution], you'll know what it's like, and you can even say that our Zelensky, the Hungarian prime minister at the time, was later executed. So we know what brutality is and what war is. But if you think about it, in 1956, we did not fight because we thought we were going to defeat the Soviet Union. We started a revolution and a fight for freedom to force a ceasefire and a peace negotiation,” PM Orbán said.

According to the prime minister, there is a “peace camp,” to which Hungary belongs and where the resolution to the current crisis can be seen via peace talks. “The Holy Father speaks for peace. Kissinger speaks for peace. We have been in Germany, there is a respected philosopher called Habermas, a leftist, not from our political community. But he is saying the same thing as we are. There are Americans, Republicans, businessmen of global scale. My feeling is that the voice for a ceasefire and then a peace agreement after the ceasefire is getting stronger. This would also bring economic relief because as long as the war continues and the West responds with sanctions, neither inflation nor energy prices will fall,” he added.

On what he called the “failed sanctions” of Brussels, Prime Minister Orbán said that they are simply badly designed. The energy sanction is a dubious mechanism in the first place, he continued, because in the history of the world, sanctions are usually imposed by those who have a dominant position. “Now, in the energy sector, it is doubtful whether we have a dominant position because we are the buyers and the Russians are the suppliers,” the prime minister said.

They have been “urging the European Commission to put a price reduction proposal next to the sanctions,” but the Commission seems reluctant. Now, there is inflation due to the sanctions, and we are paying a “sanctions premium in energy because of the failed sanctions.”

“So, if the European Union were to see the need to change its sanctions policy and, say, remove, suspend or reform it, then very quickly, I think, within a few days, the prices of certain products, including energy, would at least halve. It is important that we understand that this high inflation is not caused by the rules of the market, it is not caused by the economy; this inflation has been introduced into the economy from outside, from the political side. If the bureaucrats in Brussels had been smarter politicians, if they had acted with more consideration, then inflation would not be this high today, and energy prices would not be this high,” Prime Minister Orbán explained.

Speaking about the upcoming national consultation on energy sanctions, Prime Minister Orbán said that no country in Europe has so far asked its citizens for their opinion on the EU sanctions against Russia. “Hungary leads the way in this because we regularly consult the Hungarian people on the most difficult European issues, and even involve them in the decisions,” PM Orbán said, recalling previous national consultations such as on migration and COVID-19.

Concluding the interview with the topic of migration, Prime Minister Orbán said that there have been almost 200,000 illegal border-crossing attempts this year alone, adding that these numbers are almost reminiscent of the great migrant invasion of 2015.

“The solution would be to protect Serbia's southern border; that is the crux of the conflict,” PM Orbán said.