Ukraine conflict could last until 2030 – Orban
The Ukraine conflict could last until 2030 and the West is to blame for making it global rather than local in nature, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has said, according to US state-run broadcaster Radio Free Europe (RFE/RL).
Orban was reportedly speaking a week ago at a closed-door event involving his ruling Fidesz party, details of which are now being leaked to the media.
The Hungarian leader allegedly told his supporters that he believed Ukraine may end up losing between one third and one half of its territory due to the conflict with Russia, RFE/RL reported on Friday, citing participants of the meeting in the village of Kotcse on September 10.
The fighting between Moscow and Kiev – which is being helped by the US, EU and some other countries – could continue until 2030, Orban reportedly warned. The crisis in Ukraine started as a local conflict but the involvement of the West has turned it into a global affair, the prime minister said.
According to the report, Orban again lashed out at EU sanctions imposed on Russia over its military operation in Ukraine, saying the bloc had shot itself in the foot with those curbs.
The energy crisis, which occurred as a result of those restrictions, could force 40% of European industry to shut down this winter, he reportedly added.
In his speech, the Hungarian leader also allegedly revealed that European leaders are expected to decide on prolonging the sanctions for another six months later in autumn, insisting that an attempt should be made to prevent that extension.
The way things are going now, the eurozone and the EU itself could cease to exist by 2030, Orban was quoted as saying.
Hungary has remained relatively neutral since the outbreak of fighting in Ukraine in late February. It has refused to send arms to Kiev and consistently criticized EU sanctions on Moscow. Budapest, which is heavily dependent on Russian energy, was also able to negotiate an exemption for itself from the bloc-wide ban on Russian oil.
Earlier this month, Mikulas Bek, the European affairs minister of the Czech Republic, which now presides over the EU Council, warned that Hungary’s stance on Russia could theoretically end up with it exiting the bloc.