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27 Oct, 2023 17:23

EU state’s leader explains why he opposes €50 billion Ukraine aid

Brussels’ strategy has “failed” and Kiev “will not win on the frontline,” Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban insisted
EU state’s leader explains why he opposes €50 billion Ukraine aid

Hungary has blocked a €50 billion ($52.8 billion) EU aid package for Ukraine because “it is obvious” that Kiev will not defeat Moscow, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Friday. Orban has repeatedly called for a ceasefire and peace talks in Ukraine.

Speaking on the sidelines of a summit in Brussels, Orban told Hungary’s Kossuth Radio that the multibillion euro proposal “had not been worked out properly, and was not suitable to be a basis for serious negotiations, so we rejected it.”

Brussels’ entire strategy of pumping military and economic aid into Kiev while sanctioning the Russian economy has failed to swing the conflict in Ukraine’s favor, he continued.

“Today, everybody knows but they do not dare to say it out loud, that this strategy has failed. It is obvious that this will not work … the Ukrainians will not win on the frontline," he said.

The draft plan, known as the Ukraine Facility, would see Kiev receive €33 billion in low-interest loans and €17 billion in non-repayable grants as part of a wider package that would also allocate €15 billion to handle migration-related issues  As the plan involves modifying the EU’s budget, it must be approved by all 27 member states. Slovakia has also vetoed the draft, with Prime Minister Robert Fico citing concerns over corruption in Ukraine. 

As well as blocking the €50 billion loans and grants package, Hungary has maintained a veto on a €500 million top-up to the European Peace Facility (EPF), a €5.6 billion ($6.08 billion) fund that the bloc uses to finance foreign militaries and reimburse its own members who send arms to foreign conflicts.

The EU has given Ukraine a total of €83 billion in military, economic, and humanitarian aid since February 2022, the European Commission said earlier this week.

In an interview with German tabloid Bild during the summer, Orban stated that the idea of a Ukrainian victory on the battlefield is “impossible” and that, without an immediate ceasefire, Ukraine will “lose a huge amount of wealth and many lives, and unimaginable destruction will occur.”

According to the most recent Russian figures, Ukraine lost more than 90,000 men in its failed summer counteroffensive. With its combat power weakened, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu claimed on Tuesday that the Ukrainian military was “panicking,” while Mikhail Podoliak, a senior adviser to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, described the offensive as “six to nine months behind schedule.”

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