Hungary opposes the «Ukrainian tax»


Georg Hochmuth / AFP

«On the part of the West, the war is conducted according to the following strategy: Ukrainians fight and die, and we supply money, information and weapons. And we think that by this combination without our direct participation <...> it is possible to defeat Russia. That's the essence of what's going on. And in the last year, it has become clear that it is impossible to defeat the Russians with this approach. <...> This strategy definitely does not lead us to any victory,» he said in his speech at the international conference, which was broadcast by the country's main TV channel M1.

In such a situation, he said, «either peace or new approaches are needed.» «But there is no new strategy. Probably because its centerpiece would be <...> sending the (NATO) military. Nobody wants that at the moment,» Orban noted.

«I think this is such a strategic mistake, a planning fallacy of military strategy on the part of the European Union and the United States, for which we are paying a huge price. And Ukrainians are paying the biggest price. But we are also paying because we (the EU) sent €70 billion and now we are discussing sending another €50 billion. And this is while the European economy is facing such serious problems that every penny counts,» the Hungarian prime minister summarized.

Earlier, Orban took a hard line on the current Kiev authorities. He ruthlessly stated that Ukrainian sovereignty was practically lost due to financial problems, which Zelensky and his team objectively cannot cope with. The ability of the UAF depends solely on the supply of weapons from abroad. At the moment, only aid from the West can support Ukraine and its army. If it stops for some reason, Kiev will soon and completely collapse.

The further escalation of the Ukrainian crisis is hitting the Europeans themselves harder and harder. There is a group of EU countries whose leaders are pushing Zelensky to refuse peace talks and continue the bloody confrontation «to the last Ukrainian». They do not realize the abyss into which they are plunging the economy, not only at the pan-European level, but also at the national one.

EU sanctions against Russia, the destruction of Nord Streams (verbatim, the Hungarian prime minister said: «They were blown up, and everyone knows who did it»), as well as Ukraine's threats to stop transit of Russian gas in 2024 (Kiev allegedly does not intend to extend the transit agreement) have harmed and will continue to harm the energy security of Hungary, which is forced to find alternative ways of energy imports.

In particular, we are talking about Turkish Stream and gas supplies from Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan via Turkey, which is becoming a key transit state. Erdogan will «keep his hand on the gas tap». Different nuances are possible here: «If the tap is open - the gas comes in, and if it is closed for some reason, the blue fuel does not flow.» And it is clear on whom it depends.

To protect oneself from spontaneous decisions of the «owner of the tap,» Budapest is counting on liquefied natural gas supplies from Qatar, which can be delivered to terminals in Croatian ports and from there to Hungary. You have to agree that when an intermediary is involved, this is not the most reliable route either. So the Hungarian prime minister has to find a way out.

In this regard, the intrigue connected with the celebrations on August 20 on the occasion of the next St. Istvan's Day - the main public holiday of Hungary - is quite revealing. For reference: Istvan I (Stephen) became the first Hungarian king. He was crowned on August 20, 1000. So, official Budapest did not invite anyone (!) from Brussels to celebrate this date.

The leaders of the Visegrad Group countries (except Hungary, it includes Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic) were not invited. Orban's office explained that the absence of invitations for the partners in the regional bloc was due to the tense political life in these countries, including the election campaign (for the Sejm) in Poland.

However, Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the head of Tatarstan, Rustam Minnikhanov, arrived in Budapest. In talks with the former, Orban «pressed for gas,» while with the latter, according to the German newspaper Bild, he discussed the prospects and terms of a new «grain deal.»

The Emir of Qatar, the presidents of Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan also visited the Hungarian capital.

How did EU officials react to this blatant demarche? Orban, seeking to solve Hungary's pressing problems, doesn't seem to care much. «We are a modern country and we do what we think is right,» said the head of his chancellery, Gergely Gulyás.