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14 Jun, 2023 21:08

US involvement prevents Ukraine peace – Hungary

Washington is also twisting Budapest’s arm on NATO membership for Sweden
US involvement prevents Ukraine peace – Hungary

Near-term prospects for ending the Ukraine conflict are not looking good, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto told the Turkish Anadolu agency on Wednesday.

“Unfortunately, all developments are showing a totally different direction. The weapons deliveries, the very open reference to nuclear capacities, the offensives against each other from the two sides, the Ukrainian soldiers being trained in European countries, the very deep involvement of the Americans. So these are not heading toward peace for sure,” he said, during an interview in New York.

Szijjarto also pointed out that Ukraine is only able to fight Russia because of weapons supplied by the US, and that a long-term peace deal would depend on an agreement between Moscow and Washington.

Hungary has repeatedly called for a ceasefire in Ukraine and urged a peaceful resolution of the conflict. Budapest has also refused to allow the transit of Ukraine-bound NATO weapons across its territory, or training of Ukrainian soldiers on its soil.

Late on Tuesday, US Senator Jim Risch of Idaho blocked the sale of HIMARS rocket artillery to Hungary, citing Budapest’s delay in approving Sweden’s membership in the US-led military bloc. As the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Risch is able to hold up the weapons deal, worth an estimated $735 million and involving 24 HIMARS launchers and the ammunition for them.

Hungary is not opposed to Stockholm’s membership in principle, Szijjarto told Anadolu, but the parliament in Budapest is taking into consideration the “insults” and interference into the country’s internal affairs coming from Stockholm.

Multiple Swedish officials have accused Hungary of “backsliding” on democracy and the rule of law and accused PM Viktor Orban of acting like a “dictator,” as part of an EU campaign to compel obedience from Budapest.

“We never interfere in the domestic issues of other countries,” Szijjarto said. “Such accusations give a reason to put this issue on hold for a while.”

NATO is hoping to finalize Sweden’s membership ahead of next month’s summit in Vilnius, but even if Hungary succumbs to US pressure, that would still leave Türkiye as a holdout. Ankara has repeatedly said that Stockholm needs to do more to implement the agreement reached last year, involving the extradition of Kurdish activists accused of terrorism.

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