Prime Minister Viktor Orbán - Photo: MTI

Orbán: There can be ‘no winner’ in Ukraine war

"There can be no winner in this war," Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in Balatonfured, in western Hungary, daily Magyar Nemzet reported online late on Wednesday.

Meeting deputies of the ruling Fidesz-Christian Democrat parties ahead of parliament’s spring session, Orbán said the government had decided not to change its position on the war in Ukraine because “it is in Hungary’s national interest that the country should stay out of this war”.

“Hungarians so decided in April and we will not send weapons or join any war coalitions,” the paper quoted Orbán as saying. “We are not supporting anybody, because there can be no winner in this war.” Russia cannot win, because “the whole Western world is behind Ukraine,” he said, adding that “Russia is a nuclear power and cannot be cornered because that could trigger a nuclear war.”

The “sole morally right” position is that of the ruling parties, Orbán said, because “lives can only be saved through a ceasefire and peace talks”.

Europe has weakened during the past year because “the Biden administration promotes its interests in Brussels with no constraint, to the detriment of European interests,” Orbán said. “The responses to the war … a tsunami of sanctions have started weakening the European economy, while it does not affect America, which is rich in energy,” he said. He added that Europe’s military capabilities had also weakened, because the war had depleted the reserves of Europe’s armies, and they had not been replaced.

In the span of less than a year, Europe “lost its independence, its economic and military strength”, Orbán said. In this situation Hungary must promote its own interests to survive the war “unharmed and stronger”, he insisted. To that end, the country needs to protect its independence and the “pro-peace position against the Biden administration and Brussels”, he added.

The country must also retain its economic strength; it should “declare war on inflation”, protect jobs, families, as well as seniors and wage earners, the prime minister said, adding that Hungary’s military should also be reinforced since “peace requires strength”.

Meanwhile, Orbán accused Brussels of saddling Hungary with the “disease” of inflation on the back of higher energy prices owing to its sanctions against Russia. He insisted that it was Russia and multinational companies that had profited heavily from the sanctions. Citing forecasts, he said that the profits of the global oil and gas industries had increased from 500 billion US dollars to 834 billion in 2022.

Concerning the domestic economy, Orbán said Hungary’s energy companies, banks, large trading companies and pharmaceuticals were making “excessive profits”. Those moneys are used to finance the government’s utility and food price cap programme, he said. “We do not watch passively … we will take extra profits away and give the money back to the people,” he said.

Referring to the “adversaries” of the ruling parties, Orbán mentioned “international pro-war groups consisting of the Biden administration, pro-war Brussels bureaucrats and politicians”. He also included in that group Hungary’s leftist parties “bought by the kilo”, who he said were “only doing what their clients order them to do”. As a further group, he mentioned international speculators who “seek to make profits in war times”.

Orbán concluded his speech by asking the deputies to “continue to be hard-working, represent a team spirit and have courage”, Magyar Nemzet said.

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