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19 Jul, 2022 23:09

Hungary clarifies its position on weapons to Ukraine

Budapest dismissed the claim that its deputy foreign minister had promised transit through its territory
Hungary clarifies its position on weapons to Ukraine

Hungary’s position on deliveries of foreign weapons to Ukraine through its territory has not changed, the Foreign Ministry in Budapest said on Tuesday evening in a statement. Earlier in the day, the authorities in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv claimed the visiting deputy foreign minister had told them otherwise.

“We do not send soldiers or weapons to Ukraine, and we do not allow weapons to cross the Hungarian-Ukrainian border,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Paczolay Mate said. “Not a single weapon delivery has crossed the Hungarian-Ukrainian border, and this will not change in the future, as this poses a security risk to the area of Transcarpathia and would endanger the safety of the Hungarian people.”

This policy has been “clear from the beginning” and “remains unchanged,” Mate added, so “any news portal that circulates a statement to the contrary is publishing incorrect information.”

His statement came on the heels of reports in Ukrainian media – quoting the Lviv city council – that Deputy Foreign Minister Levente Magyar had announced a change to this policy during his visit to the western Ukrainian city.

According to Mayor Andrey Sadovoy, Magyar said that Hungary sympathized with Ukraine and would allow the transit of weapons through its territory, admit Ukrainian military personnel and civilians to its hospitals, and give scholarships to 1,000 Ukrainians at Hungarian universities.

Magyar’s alleged comments were at odds with the official position of Budapest voiced by his boss, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto, earlier this month. Szijjarto is currently in New York, where he urged the UN Security Council to “do everything possible to [establish a] ceasefire immediately and to start peace negotiations” in Ukraine. 

Kiev has repeatedly criticized Budapest for insufficiently supporting the Ukrainian cause. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has been a vocal critic of the EU sanctions on Russia, saying last week that they were destroying the bloc’s own economy rather than hurting Moscow. The speaker of the Hungarian parliament touched off a war of words with Kiev last month, when he said that Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky had a “mental problem” because he went around threatening the countries he was at the same time begging for help.