The foreign minister has confirmed that the European Union has decided to ban Russian flights from its airspace and restrict the activities of the Russian central bank, among other additional sanctions after the Russian attack on Ukraine.
Following an extraordinary online meeting of EU foreign ministers, Péter Szijjártó said an increasingly gruesome war was raging in a neighboring country, adding that this was “bad news for Hungary”. “We want peace and the war to stop as soon as possible.” Hungary considers it important to maintain unity in the EU and also to guarantee the security of energy supplies, he said. The EU also activated the European Peace Facility, enabling the bloc to supply weapons to Ukraine, he said. Minister Szijjártó said Hungary would not supply weapons or send soldiers on a national, bilateral basis. The government had categorically rejected “Leftist proposals” to that end, he said. “The government’s most important task is to protect Hungary and the safety of Hungarians and to prevent the country from being dragged into war,” he said.
Minister Szijjártó said Hungary was offering humanitarian aid to Ukraine and added that he had assured Viktor Mikita, the governor of Transcarpathia with a large population of ethnic Hungarians, that the region could continue to rely on fuel and food supplies from Hungary.
Regarding Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to put nuclear forces on high alert, Minister Szijjártó said peace talks were even more important “when the situation has escalated this far”. He reiterated the offer that Budapest could host the talks. Commenting on media reports about Italian soldiers arriving in Hungary, he said that as a member of NATO, Hungary was continually involved in international military cooperation. Hungary agreed to develop a contingent following a 2014 NATO summit in Wales and this has been under way for years, with the participation of Italian soldiers, he added.
Photo credit: Facebook/Szijjártó Péter