Defense Minister Tibor Benkő ordered the deployment of Hungarian servicemen to the east of the country on Tuesday in light of escalating tensions between Russia and Ukraine.
Following a meeting of the national security committee that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán had instructed him to task the army with preventing any possible armed incursions into Hungarian territory, the minister said that the situation in Ukraine may escalate and affect Kiyv and Transcarpathia, in the west of the country, so Hungarian servicemen at the border must also prepare to handle the arrival of refugees and see to other humanitarian tasks, he said.
The minister said that while in the next few days “residents in various parts of Hungary could see convoys heading for the east”, in western Hungary the military would carry out exercises jointly with NATO forces. Minister Benkő said it was not yet clear how Russia and Ukraine would proceed, but added that “it is a fact that there is a war conflict in a neighbouring country”. “Hungarians need not be concerned in Hungary, but the Hungarian military must be prepared for any development,” he added. “Hungary wants peace,” the minister said, adding that Hungary believed in finding peaceful resolutions to conflicts. However, the Hungarian Armed Forces must be prepared to carry out border protection and humanitarian tasks, he said.
As regards the tasks ahead for Hungary, Minister Benkő said the Ukraine-Russia conflict would call for specific tasks that would have to be carried out “today, tomorrow or in the coming days”. The minister called for the development of a national military that could guarantee peace and security for Hungary. The Hungarian military “can handle the current situation both as an integral part of NATO and using its own capabilities”, Minister Benkő said.
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