Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, told MPs in parliament that the only way to save lives is through peace, not weapons deliveries or sanctions, calling on them to adopt a "pro-peace declaration" submitted by the ruling parties.
In a speech ahead of the debate, the foreign minister said the war had so far proved “disastrous”, with “hundreds of thousands dead, millions displaced, hundreds of thousands of families torn apart and thousands drafted forcefully, while whole regions are in ruins.” Although regional, he said, the war had global implications. He added that time was running out to stop it from turning into a world war. “Meanwhile, the European economy is floundering.” Minister Szijjártó insisted that Europe and “the transatlantic region” were “in a state of war psychosis”. Some in Brussels, he said, saw weapons deliveries to Ukraine as a competition between the US and Europe in terms of who could provide more. Given that the war is situated in Europe, it is Europe that felt its negative effects “directly”, he added. As a neighboring country, Hungary has firsthand experience of the suffering the war has caused. “This war cannot be won, it can only have losers”, Minister Szijjártó said. The Hungarians of Transcarpathia are being drafted into the Ukrainian military, and some have already died, he said.
Minister Szijjártó added that although Hungary is not responsible for the war, the country and its citizens have already paid a high price for it. “No one can expect us to sacrifice even more,” he said in parliament. “The international community should focus on saving lives, but that is only possible through peace rather than delivering weapons and imposing sanctions,” he said. Sanctions have failed nine times, “and you would think we shouldn’t try it a tenth time,” he said. The EU, however, is preparing to do just that, he said. The global majority is on the side of peace, and Hungary is part of that majority, he said. Peace requires open channels of communication so peace talks can remain a possibility, he said. Sustainable results will be “impossible” without direct talks between the US and Russia, he said. Meanwhile, Hungarians in Ukraine are losing one minority right after the other and are suffering provocations at a time when Hungary is in the midst of the largest humanitarian operation of its history to help Ukrainian refugees, he said. “Even as 1,247 Hungarian schools have accepted Ukrainian children, Ukraine is preparing to close minority schools from September, to strip [minorities] from the possibility to do their school-leaving exams and university admissions in their mother tongue, and take away universities’ right to choose the language of education,” Minister Szijjártó said. Hungary stands by Transcarpathian Hungarians and will use all international forums to aid them, he said.