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4 Mar, 2022 11:28

Hungarian PM says countries can’t count on NATO to protect them

Viktor Orban gave an interview on relations with the EU and sanctions against Russia
Hungarian PM says countries can’t count on NATO to protect them

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Friday morning that he felt he couldn’t count on the Western bloc when it comes to real action concerning the country’s security.

NATO will protect us when we are ready to defend ourselves. Anyone who thinks NATO will protect us is wrong,” he said in an interview for Kossuth state radio.

Orban praised the fact that Hungary had managed to reorganize its army since 2010 and was strong enough to protect itself and its allies. Still, he believes the country should stay away from war, as it was not “Hungary’s job to sort out world politics.” The president added that the safety of Hungarian citizens was his top priority in this conflict. 

Orban also warned that Western sanctions against Russia pose an “immediate danger” to the economy, noting that they have already had an impact in Hungary, where energy prices escalated rapidly, prompting further inflation.

Sanctions have a price as it is a double-edged weapon, and we will pay this price in the short term,” he said in the interview, adding that it was “only the beginning of the crisis.” 

Orban also commented on Ukrainian refugees arriving in Hungary. While about 70% to 80% of the 140,000 displaced citizens are going to other countries, he said Hungary wants to offer jobs to those who stay, and the prime minister has already initiated talks with employers. He added that the country is ready to accommodate refugees for three months, but warned that they will then have to integrate themselves into Hungarian society. He also stressed the importance of healthcare, as the coronavirus pandemic remains an issue.

According to the UN, more than one million people have fled Ukraine since Moscow began its offensive last Thursday, heading to Poland, Russia, Hungary, Moldova, Romania, Slovakia and other countries in order to find safety.

In the wake of Russia’s invasion, the European Union and other countries have placed a number of severe sanctions on Moscow, including barring several of the country’s banks from the global payment system, SWIFT, and closing airspace to Russian aircraft. Prominent international brands such as Apple, IKEA, H&M and Airbnb have also suspended their operations in Russia over the Ukrainian conflict.