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Hungary keeping Kyiv embassy open

Hungary is keeping its embassy in Kyiv open, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said on Monday before leaving for a meeting with his European Union counterparts in Luxembourg.

The Foreign Affairs Council meeting is set to focus on the war in Ukraine, Szijjarto said, adding that the developments of the past few weeks have been pointing towards escalation rather than peace. “There’ve been several decisions and events that have pushed the war towards brutality and escalation,” he said.

“We Hungarians want peace and call on everyone on the international political stage to refrain from making decisions that lead to escalation, and to finally shift the focus to achieving peace,” Szijjarto said.

He added, however, that this was still a ways off, noting that Kyiv’s centre was again bombed on Monday morning.

Szijjarto said he had consulted by phone with Istvan Ijgyarto, Hungary’s ambassador to Ukraine, who said there were four blasts heard in the capital in the early hours.

The ambassador and all of the embassy’s staff members are safe, Szijjarto said, adding that the embassy building had not been hit. Mobile phone service and power sometimes cut out for a few hours, but the conditions to operate the embassy are basically in place, so a decision has been made to keep the embassy open, the minister said.

“If any Hungarian citizen gets into trouble in Kyiv, we will help them,” Szijjarto said, adding that the embassy has procured the technical equipment needed to stay open. It has also stocked up on food and procured portable beds in case it has to provide accommodation for people in trouble, he said.

Szijjarto said he has asked the ambassador to immediately notify him of any “dramatic changes in the circumstances” so that decisions regarding the embassy can be changed in the interest of the ambassador and the staff’s safety.

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