Hungary’s Viktor Orban believes time is on Russia’s side in the Ukrainian conflict
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has expressed hope that the newly-approved €50 billion ($54 billion) package of aid will be used to support civilians by preventing the collapse of the bankrupt Ukrainian state, rather than to fund more weapons and bloodshed.
Orban has repeatedly called for a ceasefire in Ukraine and peace talks between Moscow and Kiev, arguing that Ukraine cannot possibly hope to defeat Russia on the battlefield. This position, as well as Budapest’s opposition to sanctions on Russia and blocking of EU military aid to Ukraine, has seen Hungary vilified in Kiev and threatened with sanctions by its EU allies.
“The West still thinks that time is on our side. Yet, I think the opposite is true. I think that time is on the side of the Russians, and the longer the war goes on, the more people will die, and the balance of power will not change in Ukraine’s favor,” Orban told Kossuth Radio on Friday.
According to Russia’s estimates, Kiev has lost more than 400,000 service members killed, wounded, and missing since the conflict began in February 2022. Ukraine’s top commander, General Valery Zaluzhny, has repeatedly insisted in recent weeks that the armed forces are critically understaffed, and even President Vladimir Zelensky admitted on Sunday that combat operations on the ground have reached a “stalemate.”
The Hungarian leader went on to insist that “peace will come when there is change in Brussels,” and that after almost two years of failed hopes to defeat Russia militarily “everything in Brussels should revolve around achieving a ceasefire as soon as possible.”
The EU approved the new aid package on Thursday, having pressured Orban into lifting his veto. The Hungarian painted the decision as a victory for Budapest, claiming that otherwise Brussels “would have taken away the funds earmarked for Hungary and sent that to Ukraine as well.”
“We are not sending weapons, we get our money from Brussels, and we will contribute to the civil financing of Ukraine,” Orban said on Friday, reiterating his firm position that the only way to end the Ukrainian crisis was through negotiations.