Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said Hungary is essentially alone among Western countries when it comes to promoting peace in Ukraine.
Participating in a panel discussion at the Amman Security Forum, Minister Szijjártó said most other countries employ the rhetoric of escalation. The war in Ukraine affects the entire world, he said, noting the energy crisis and emerging food crisis. Hungary feels both the direct and indirect effects of the conflict, he said. “More than one million refugees have come to the country from the East, while the southern border is under siege … with the authorities preventing 230,000 illegal attempts to cross the border this year alone.” Szijjártó insisted that “failed European Union sanctions” were making the situation worse and had not brought the Russian economy “to its knees”. The minister said Hungarian spending on energy imports of 7 billion euros last year would balloon to 19 billion euros this year and to 29 billion euros in 2023. Unstable regions witnessing a decline in living conditions because of the Ukraine war are susceptible to extremist ideologies and violence, and thus there is a threat of new waves of migration and the associated spread of terrorism, he said, adding that Hungary had a vital interest in promoting peace in Ukraine — one of the few countries to do so. Minister Szijjártó noted that Hungary is almost alone in refusing to supply weapons to Ukraine, and it is not involved in the EU’s training mission either. But this stance opens the government to political attacks and denigration by “the international media”, he said. The war in Ukraine could well get out of control if further escalation takes place, the minister added.