The day in brief: Hungary on the war in Ukraine

Here’s a quick summary of the most important statements of Hungarian government officials today on the war in Ukraine.

Foreign Minister Szijjártó: NATO is not a party to the war

It is reassuring news that no decision was taken at Friday's meeting of NATO foreign ministers that could lead to a direct NATO-Russia conflict, Foreign Minister Szijjártó said in Brussels earlier today, following an extraordinary meeting of NATO foreign ministers.

Speaking to Hungarian journalists, FM Szijjártó stressed that the ministers of the member states had said that everything must be done to ensure that NATO is not involved in the war, and that NATO as an alliance will not supply weapons to this war. "Hungary, more than anyone else, wants peace and for this war to end as soon as possible. The most important task now is to protect Hungary and the security of the Hungarian people," he said. The Hungarian Defense Forces can protect Hungary, and no additional forces are needed, Szijjártó added.

Government spokesperson: The government is working to ensure that everyone receives assistance

The government has been working from the very beginning to ensure that all those fleeing the Russian-Ukrainian war get proper assistance, government spokeswoman Alexandra Szentkirályi wrote on her Facebook page on Friday.

The whole country is on the move, she wrote, with everyone from law enforcement agencies and state-owned companies to charities, municipalities and volunteers trying to do their part.

The government has made Hungarian-Ukrainian border crossings operational 24 hours a day to ensure smooth passage of refugees, and set up immediate assistance points at Beregsurány, Tiszabecs, Zahony, Barabás and Lónya to help Ukrainian refugees even more effectively. The government also established a Humanitarian Council to further coordinate and organize the work of government actors and major charities, and a special working group to help refugees find work. Through the National Humanitarian Coordination Council, the government coordinates the collection of aid, donations and the delivery of humanitarian aid shipments, as well as the work of Hungarian aid organizations.

1.3 billion HUF of government support is being provided to large aid organizations through the Hungary Helps Program, with the possibility of further increases.

Hungarian sports community stands united, donates HUF 10 million

Nine Hungarian sports organizations have joined forces to donate HUF 10 million to support refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine.

Zsolt Gyulay, President of the Hungarian Olympic Committee (MOB), which started the initiative, said after a meeting on Friday that the broad cooperation of the Hungarian sports community is exemplary.

Government spokeswoman Alexandra Szentkirályi expressed her delight that "the sports community has acted in such a united and coordinated way in such a difficult situation.” She recalled that there is a war going on in Ukraine and stressed that the Hungarian government is doing its utmost to guarantee the safety of Hungarian people.

"The first and most important way to do this is not to allow Hungary to get involved in this armed conflict in any way. But it is also very important that we can really offer support and a helping hand to those who are in trouble, who need help," she said.

By calling or sending a text message to the 1357 national helpline, Hungarians can support the work of charitable organizations and, through them, people in need of help with HUF 500.

Tamás Deutsch, a Fidesz MEP and President of the National Association of Sports Organizations, said that the entire Hungarian sports community agreed on the need to help the Hungarians living in Transcarpathia who had fled to Hungary, and everyone else regardless of nationality, quickly and with all available means.

"Many people have already indicated that they would come to help, even with manual labor", Deutsch said, adding that athletes will appear on public channels and will encourage people to join forces.

László Tőkés: We must help those who are suffering regardless of language, religion or nationality

In a statement on Friday, László Tőkés, President of the Transylvanian Hungarian National Council (EMNT), pleaded for peace in Europe, saying that regardless of mother tongue, religion or nationality, we must help those who are suffering.

Hungarians in Transcarpathia, Vojvodina, Felvidék and Transylvania, Tőkés recalled, have suffered a lot in the last century. "That is why we stand in solidarity with all our fellow Hungarians who have to flee. And we also stand in solidarity with the Romanians in Ukraine and with the members of the Ukrainian nation who have to suffer because of the war. We must help those who are suffering, regardless of their language, religion or nationality," said the former bishop.

László Tőkés called on everyone to support the work of state and church institutions and humanitarian NGOs helping refugees.