Prime Minister Viktor Orbán (l) - Photo: PMO

Orbán: War will have no winners

Ever since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, Hungary's position has been that there would be no winners, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said on Friday. Orbán told public radio that Western contemplations about victory or defeat were actually a false dichotomy of the war.

He said Russia was hitting a wall because NATO was supplying Ukraine with weapons and money, and it only depended on Westerners and the Americans how much they would be willing to spend on the war.

On the other side is Russia, a country with a population of 140 million, which is much larger than Ukraine and has the world’s largest nuclear arsenal, Orbán said.

“It is impossible to imagine that someone would be able to defeat a country with such nuclear power and Russia will not sit idly by, waiting to be defeated, it will not accept a military defeat,” he added.

He said that one must be glad that “there is no war here” and that “we are strong enough to prevent getting dragged into the war”.

Meanwhile, the prime minister said the United States was running a pro-war campaign on Hungary’s territory. “That’s a story in and of itself, that another country can run a propaganda campaign in our country for an armed conflict,” he said.

But despite their efforts to drag Hungary into the conflict, “we won’t take part in this war,” Orbán said. “This is not our war, and we will do everything we can to make sure there is a ceasefire as soon as possible and that peace talks get under way, because there’s no other way to save tens or hundreds of thousands of lives.”

Orbán said tough weeks were ahead regarding the war. Ukraine’s expected counteroffensive is its last big chance, after which the situation will become clearer, and it will become obvious to many what kind of military options are left in the war, he said.

Orbán said the clearer situation after the offensive would open the door to more diplomatic action.

The prime minister emphasised that “there are always various interests that latch onto a war,” whether it be arms deals, speculators or smugglers for whom such a conflict was a “gold mine”.

He said there were Western business circles, “with perhaps [US financier] George Soros at the forefront”, which had “always dreamed about somehow stepping into Ukraine — which they’ve successfully done — and gain access to Russia’s natural resources”.

Many want peace in Europe, but current politics and the US influence leaves no room for the voice of peace, Orbán said, adding that the entire liberal media was “pro-war”.

He said the Vatican was committed to using its strength, relations and influence to try to put an end to the bloodshed, “on which it is counting on us”. It must gather the players where the voice of peace is stronger and who are prepared to represent that on the international stage, he added.

Hungary clearly stands for peace, the prime minister said.

As regards Pope Francis’s apostolic visit to Hungary last weekend, Orbán said the country had been in a different state during those three days, with political disputes and hostility taking a back seat to the pontiff’s visit.

Meanwhile, Orbán said Hungary’s interests lay in a well-functioning and successful Ukraine, and the ethnic Hungarians living there made Hungary even more motivated to wish for peace.

Hungary has a priority interest in peace because Ukraine is a neighbouring country, he noted.

“We have a vested interest in a well-functioning and successful Ukraine which also increases Hungary’s value,” Orbán said “A Ukraine in trouble, ravaged by war, posing risks and losing the lives of its citizens by the hundreds of thousands also reduces Hungary’s appeal,” he added.

Additionally, part of Ukraine is “ancient Hungarian land which currently belongs to Ukraine” and the ethnic Hungarians live as an indigenous community there, he said. The suffering of Ukraine is also the suffering of the ethnic Hungarians living there, he added.

As a result, Hungarians are all the more motivated, more than any other nation in Europe, to wish for peace, and are seeking ways to contribute to peace, he said. Hungary will not reject any peace mission, he added.

Concerning disputes around Ukrainian grain, Orbán said that if central Europeans unite they can reach their goals in Brussels as well.

Hungary believed the European Commission when it said the Ukrainian grain would be shipped to Africa, but that was not what happened, he said. Speculators brought the grain into central Europe, where they sold it, driving down prices and “ruining” Polish, Hungarian, Romanian and Bulgarian farmers’ chances, Orbán said. The commission was fully aware of this but did nothing, he added.

“The commission has deceived us and abused its power so many times that we really should have known that this is what it would come to again,” Orbán said.

Poland became the central European country to spearhead this issue, and Hungary joined it, the prime minister said. The two countries got Brussels to put an end to this practice, and if Brussels refuses to act, Hungary will exercise its national competences to keep these products out of the country, he added.

Orbán said that though Brussels has pledged a 100 million euro emergency support package for farmers, he believed Hungary would receive no share of it.

“The lesson here is to always stand up for your own interests,” he said.

Orbán said it was a warning sign that “the cancellation of a single customs duty nearly destroyed farmers in five countries” while “everybody is talking about Ukraine’s European Union membership”. “Careful with Ukraine’s EU membership!”, he added.

Commenting on the significant increase in energy prices, Orbán said Hungary was still able to maintain the price caps on utility fees. “Prices are not breaking loose, families will remain protected up to average consumption and the government aims to also help SMEs,” he added.

He said passes were being introduced in all counties nationwide, so support was being shared around equally, and what has been only been available in Budapest so far will also be granted to people outside the capital.

The government will try to maintain family protection measures despite the war most likely not coming to an end this year, Orbán said.

The price of energy purchased from Russia is affected by a delay, with both price cuts and price increases appearing a couple months later, he said. What’s most important is that there will be enough energy available when the heating season begins and this will be achieved by topping up storage facilities, he added.

Nine countries headed by Germany are currently publishing a new initiative which aims at deviating from the EU basic treaty and preventing member states from pursuing independent foreign policy. If a two-thirds majority of the EU makes a certain decision then no member state will be allowed to act differently, he said.

“This means that independent Hungarian foreign policy will cease to exist,” he added.

“Attempts are being made in the whole of the western world to restrict the independence, powers and sovereignty of countries and to take more and more out of their hands,” he said.

This is a breaking point because “we believe in the Europe of nations”, Orbán said. “The only cure is if nations get strengthened, which is the basis for western culture, and it’s what made the West great, but the globalists are trying to eliminate nations,” he added.

All nations must be cautious, especially a small one like Hungary and “if we don’t want to be trampled on, we must insist on the concept of the Europe of nations”, he said.

Commenting on the CPAC Hungary conference under way, he said it was also the reason why “our conservatives friends” have arrived. “The people meeting in Budapest are tied by this idea and they are ready to fight a political battle against the world of the global elite and speculators,” Orbán said.

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