Katalin Novak - Photo: Facebook

Novak: B9 group supports Ukraine, peace

The Bucharest Nine Group is committed to further supporting Ukraine and to restoring peace to the country as soon as possible, the Hungarian president said after attending the meeting of the group in Bratislava on Tuesday.
7. June 2023 6:49

The main focus of the meeting was strengthening Europe’s security and stability, Katalin Novak said. Besides the leaders of the member states — Czechia, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Bulgaria –, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg also attended, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky sent a video message, she said.

The B9 adopted a declaration of their commitment to further support Ukraine and the restoration of peace as soon as possible, Novak said. The declaration condemns Russia’s “unjustifiable” attack and acknowledges Ukraine’s right to self-defence, she added.

Noting she had expressed her condolences to Zelensky at a previous visit to Kyiv over the “inexplicable, brutal and tragic attacks on Ukrainian civilians”, Novak said the B9 must be ready to provide further humanitarian aid for Ukraine. Hungary has received some 2 million refugees from Ukraine since the start of the war, she noted.

At the same time, “the Bucharest Nine will also have to be present in the post-war reconstruction of the country and afterwards too,” she said.

Novak warned against “unrealistic promises” to Ukraine, which “needs to make military decisions based on realistic expectations.” The group supports “a perspective for Ukraine to become a member of NATO”, and the alliance’s open doors policy in general, she said.

The B9 “encourages Ukraine to further reforms” to become a member of the EU and NATO, Novak said, adding that she also saw a need to respect the rights of minorities in Ukraine.

Another important aspect of European security is stability in the Western Balkans, Novak said, adding that several Hungarian soldiers were injured in riots in Kosovo, where they served as members of NATO’s KFOR mission.

Stoltenberg said in a tweet after the event that he had a “good talk” with Novak, “president of our valued ally Hungary”.

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