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Szijjarto: Proposals to introduce mandatory military service in Europe ‘unacceptable’

"Crazy proposals" to introduce the draft in Europe "are unacceptable", the foreign minister said on Monday, adding that "the Hungarian government will in no way allow central European youths, including Hungarians, to be sent to the war in Ukraine."

At a press conference after a meeting of his European Union counterparts, Peter Szijjarto said “the countdown” to the European parliamentary elections “is unfortunately bringing about an increase in war sentiment”, with many proposing more money and arms for Ukraine, “which can only result in further destruction and more deaths”.

He referred to proposals aimed at allowing Ukraine to use Western arms against targets in Russia. “They talk positively about an initiative for NATO countries to shoot down Russian missiles above Ukraine and, unfortunately, my fellow foreign ministers have not distanced themselves from threats of nuclear war,” he said, adding that such remarks and “crazy proposals” could have “dangerous and tragic consequences”.

“We don’t want to see Hungarians at the frontline of the Ukraine-Russia war, and we do not want young Hungarians to be taken to Ukraine. This isn’t our war and we have nothing to do with it,” Szijjarto said.

“We firmly call on all European politicians mulling mandatory conscription to drop such ideas immediately… Hands off our central European and Hungarians young people,” Szijjarto said.

Regarding the draft of the 14th sanctions package against Russia, Szijjjarto said that it was against Hungary’s economic interests in its current form and would also endanger the security of Hungary’s energy supply. The government was unwilling to vote for it, he added.

He said the measures would swipe a serious blow to Hungary’s agriculture and food industry, and could compromise “the way Hungary pays for” its electricity, slow down the Paks upgrade project and violate Hungary’ sovereignty concerning the issuance of certain export permits.

He insisted that the previous 13 sanctions packages had done “a lot more harm to Europe than to Russia”.

On another subject, Szijjarto said Hungary was sticking to its earlier position and would not agree to freeing up a further 6.5 billion euros from the European Peace Facility for arms deliveries to Ukraine.

He said the foreign ministers of Germany, Lithuania, Ireland, Poland and other countries had “ganged up on him” at the meeting but “this hasn’t shaken our position”. “No matter how loud Europe’s pro-war politicians shout … we won’t give in to pro-war pressure,” he said.

“We insist that peace must be achieved and the senseless killing of people stopped; any escalation of the war must be prevented,” he said.

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