FM on Ukraine: We still have a long way ahead of us

“We stand for Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. We condemn the war and want peace in our neighborhood,” the foreign minister said.

“We came here to rebuild trust in bilateral ties. I think we agree that we have taken steps in that direction,” Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said after talks in Uzhorod (Ungvár) with Ukrainian counterpart Dmitro Kuleba and Andrij Yermak, the head of the presidential office.

“We still have a long way ahead of us, and a lot of work to do, but we Hungarians are ready to undertake it,” he said. Hungary’s position regarding Ukraine was clear and consistent in the past two years, Minister Szijjártó said. “We stand for Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. We condemn the war and want peace in our neighborhood,” he said. The minister called for renewed efforts to restore peace in Ukraine. “Hungary is ready to continue making such efforts because we know that lives can only be saved when there is peace,” he said. He said that since 2022 Hungary had been carrying out the biggest humanitarian operation in its history, and some one million refugees had entered Hungary. Fully 5,442 Ukrainian children are attending 1,558 schools and kindergartens in the country. Meanwhile, Hungarian aid has reached some 500,000 families in 20 Ukrainian counties, including summer camps for 14,000 Ukrainian children, Minister Szijjártó said, pledging to continue restoring hospitals, schools and doctors’ surgeries in various parts of Ukraine.

The foreign minister also touched on the development of cross-border infrastructure, saying that the talks “have yielded results” in that area. A 120 million euro logistics center has been built on the Hungarian side of the border and a new border crossing will soon open between Nagyhódos and Velyka Palad (Nagypalád), he added. They also agreed to expand road and rail crossings near Beregsurány and Záhony, and to explore the construction of a new bridge across the River Tisza, he said. Minister Szijjártó said he had also asked Kuleba to maintain reliable oil transit, and “to create a fair environment” for Hungarian companies in Ukraine. He thanked Transcarpathia governor Viktor Mikita for ensuring “that Hungarians and Ukrainians can live peacefully side by side”, adding that Mikita was “instrumental in dealing with attempts to artificially stoke tensions” in the region. “Certain segments of the international media have made a sport of misconstruing and misrepresenting Hungary’s stance. Such activities could create tensions in everyday life as well as in politics.” Szijjártó said he had assured Mikita within days of the start of the war that the Hungarian government “will consider all his requests immediately and fulfil them whenever possible”. Hungary has fulfilled that promise in the past two years and would continue to do so, he said.