Prime Minister Viktor Orbán - Photo: PMO

Orbán: Sunday’s EP vote ‘chance to stop war’

Whereas hope of bringing an end to the war in Ukraine appears to be fading every day, "we still have a chance to vote in the European Parliament elections and stop it", Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said on Friday in an interview to public radio.

There are points in history before every war when the clock cannot be turned back, Orbán said, adding that “we are very close to that point”.

The prime minister said that France was handing over fighter planes to Ukraine and Russia had stated their ability to deliver weapons to any US enemy, which, he said, were “no longer simply statements but actions”.

Russian ships were on their way to Cuba and Russia was engaged in conflicts in Africa, “and everywhere circumstances are getting increasingly tense”, he added.

The war in Ukraine, he said, was turning from a regional conflict into a European and West-East standoff, “and regional wars usually develop into world wars”.

“We’ll have a chance to stop the war” in the EP elections, he said. “Then there’ll be a few difficult months until the American elections, during which we can survive”.

Orbán said that “when Donald Trump returns — and with a good European election behind us — we can form a pan-Western transatlantic peace coalition and stop the war,” he said.

Europe “is in a state of war psychosis” that could logically result in the arrival of western European military units in Ukrainian territories, Orbán said.

Looking back to the past, he added, it was easy to see that “we are entering an open conflict at accelerating speed”.

“Those who say there is no direct threat of war are misleading the people,” he added.

“Unfortunate Hungarian leftists”, he said, were “torn between war and peace, while the Hungarian people — even on the left — want peace”. But those who “pay the left, from Soros to Brussels to Washington, want war.”

Attempts were being made to silence pro-peace politicians, he said, citing the attack against Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico and the blocking of online reports about the Peace March held in Budapest last Saturday.

A direct military conflict was being prepared, Orbán said, adding that Russia “is not a third-rate country, however, and there will be a response to every Western move, which will result in the escalation of the war,” he added.

“We are in the last moments; we are only centimetres from the point of no return,” Orbán said. “We must act now,” he added.

Orbán also stated his objection to a European decision to ban member states from receiving Russian broadcasts, insisting that Hungarians and the citizens of other EU countries were prevented from getting hold of Ukrainian and Russian news and then deciding “where they think the truth lies”.

Hungary must stay out of a NATO mission in Ukraine at all costs, Orbán said, adding that Hungary should not even “dip its toe” in the planning phase, insisting there was a risk that Hungarian military units could be transferred to NATO command if the alliance mission in Ukraine were to get under way, and Hungarian territory used for the mission.

“We’d lose a vital part of our sovereignty if that happened … and then we wouldn’t be able to keep the Hungarian troops out of the war,” he said.

Orbán said the point at which Hungary withdrew from all NATO preparations for a Ukraine mission was “very close”, adding that such a step must be first discussed with the alliance’s current and future secretary-general.

“We must make clear that Hungary has the right to stick to the NATO basic treaty that we joined,” he said, noting that it was defined as a defence treaty.

Orbán said nobody could force Hungary to participate in military action outside the territory of NATO member states or to contribute money to such activity. He said NATO was “demanding” some 40 billion dollars for this purpose from alliance members, adding that he had so far refused to approve a Hungarian contribution.

He said it was possible to make divisions within Western coalition governments as a result of their members’ different value systems and this gave way to interference which endangered sovereignty “but we can protect our country’s independence” because in Hungary “there is one camp and one flag” and “we have learnt how to handle pressure from Brussels”.

Orbán said that at the same time it was important at the EP election to support government measures aimed at protecting the country’s sovereignty and preventing Hungary from being “pushed into war”.

The prime minister said that regardless of Sunday’s election results, Hungary’s government would “stick to supporting peace as long as it can, the only question being is how long that is possible”, and that was linked to the outcome of the election.

He said staying out of the war was a matter of strength, insisting that it was “easy” to participate in a war. “All you must do is swim along the others, but going against it and staying out is difficult,” he added.

Orbán said the difference between the eras of the past world wars and today was that instead of the great powers making decisions at the negotiating tables, people could now choose in free elections whether to support war or peace.

He said people had already lost much due to the war. “Perhaps they don’t realise, but they’re financing the war without actually wanting to, with prices in the shops being wartime prices.” The war, he added, pushed up interest rates on loans, transport costs, energy prices, “and Brussels has made it even worse by introducing a completely ill-devised sanctions system.” An additional problem is that Hungary must make continuous payments to European Union coffers, “and Brussels then sends the money to Ukraine,” Orbán said.

“What I fight for most frequently is that they should not send money due to us to Ukraine, but at least if they want to send money there, then they should act fairly and instead of sending the Hungarians’ money, they should send some money from everyone, with everyone making a separate contribution for this purpose,” he added.

Commenting on the NATO demand that “we should commit ourselves to 40 billion dollars”, Orbán said any amount of money that appeared sufficient today would soon turn out not to be enough “because the war will eat up everything”.

“Quitting the war now would mean that the sacrifices made so far have been futile and pro-war people refuse to admit this, which is why they refuse to even talk about stopping; they keep throwing fresh money, fresh resources behind the money already wasted,” Orbán said.

The prime minister said that “speculators led by George Soros” had got rich off the war and governments had acted in line with their demands, saying “if we have already invested this much in the war, we should not allow it to get wasted and we should add more,” he said. “But this will never end, or rather, it will end with millions of people dying,” he added.

Meanwhile, Orbán also said that by repurchasing majority ownership in Liszt Ferenc International Airport “we have repossessed a unique asset, one that must not be given over to anybody but always must be preserved”. He said that in times of war it was in any case better to have the country’s only serious international airport under Hungarian control. By taking the airport into state ownership, the assets of all Hungarian citizens had increased, he added.

In order to rapidly increase the value of the airport, the world’s largest airport operator France’s Vinci is involved, Orbán said.

There are further plans to involve investors from Qatar, “though we definitely want to preserve the majority”, he added.

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