Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said the war in Ukraine, expected to be protracted, would be a “local conflict” between Russia and Ukraine were it not for western sanctions, which have turned it into a “global economic war". Addressing lawmakers, PM Orbán said that while the US and the EU are supplying Ukraine with weapons and money, Russia’s reserves of material and men are endless, adding that it was expected that the war in Hungary’s neighborhood would continue this year and next and it threatened a European and global economic collapse. PM Orbán accused the West of being pro-war while Hungary stood on the side of peace.
“We demand an immediate ceasefire and peace talks rather than prolonging and deepening the war,” he said. Hungary’s priorities are “preserving its security and its economic and national sovereignty,” he added. The government, he noted, has established a defence fund to be spent separately from the central budget funds on army development, border protection and strengthening the national security services.
PM Orbán said the economic consequences of the war affected families the most. “Inflation unseen in 40 years is sweeping across developed countries, with the highest rate seen in central Europe.” Drastic energy price hikes are owing to “political decisions in Brussels” rather than economic developments, he said, adding that it may make sense to impose sanctions on economic sectors in which “we are stronger than the country subjected to those sanctions”. But “we are dwarfs and Russia is the giant” when it comes to the energy sector, he added. If sanctions were lifted, inflation would drop by half and without sanctions the European economy would revive and a recession could be avoided, he added. Sanctions caused enormous damage to Europe, he said, while Russia had generated a 158 billion euros in revenue thanks to energy exports since the outbreak of the war. “If it all goes on like this, Europe will succumb to the worst,” PM Orbán said. More people in Europe are getting angrier, PM Orbán said, “and the bureaucrats in Brussels must understand that it is irresponsible to gamble the fate of entire national economies and millions of people.”
Photo credit: MTI