Hungarian troops near the Ukrainian border - Photo: MTI

Defence Minister: Hungary taking important role in strengthening NATO eastern flank

Hungary is taking a significant role in strengthening the eastern flank of NATO, the Hungarian defence minister said after a meeting with his Bucharest Nine counterparts in Warsaw on Wednesday.
27. April 2023 6:15

The defence ministry quoted Kristof Szalay-Bobrovniczky as saying that Hungary, Bulgaria, Czechia, Estonia, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, and Slovakia were equally affected by the war in Ukraine. The Hungarian government maintains its position that an immediate ceasefire and peace talks could end the conflict.

The Hungarian government continues to deny its support to any weapons shipments to Ukraine as “any such transports would protract the war and result in further escalation”, he said.

According to the government, Ukraine should be “helped without weapons”, the minister said, adding that Hungary had condemned Russia’s aggression and expressed support for Ukraine’s integrity and sovereignty from the start. He also noted Hungary’s humanitarian aid programme to Ukrainians fleeing to Hungary and people staying in Ukraine alike.

Concerning Hungary’s NATO membership, Szalay-Bobrovniczky said Hungary was a “committed” member of the alliance and as such it was fully meeting its obligations. He noted that Hungary had increased its defence spending to 2 percent of GDP a full year before the deadline determined by NATO.

On the subject of NATO’s enlargement, the minister said Hungary supported a policy of open doors, but added that he encouraged his counterparts to be “level-headed”. Any decision to accept new members should be preceded by the candidate’s fully meeting NATO’s entry criteria and with a “full consensus of NATO members”.

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