What we all wanted to avoid became a reality: Russia invaded Ukraine.
Telex has gathered the reasons why PM Orbán is in a difficult situation when it comes to taking sides in the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. According to them, these reasons are the following:
Orbán is loyal to Vladimir Putin, however, as the head of a NATO and EU Member State, he is forced to agree to decisions taken against Russia. This is because he is insignificant enough from an economic, political, and military standpoint to pursue a policy of dissent. So, because of the multi-directional loyalties in the current complex situation, what Orbán wants to do is mostly nothing.
However, of course, in such a situation, especially when it is also the time of an election campaign, doing nothing is not an option. Thus, he visited the Integrated Operations Centre of the Hungarian Defence Forces with Defence Minister Tibor Benkő by his side. That is where the following topic was talked about:
Péter Márki-Zay, the opposition candidate for PM, said, as an answer to a question, that he would support Ukraine’s accession to NATO and would give Ukraine all the help that NATO allows.
“If NATO so decides, even troops. But for the moment, there is no sign of that.”
However, PM Orbán interpreted this in a much stronger way and said that
“Accepting left-wing proposals to send soldiers and weapons to Ukraine has no place in this discussion.”
As Telex added, Ukraine’s ambassador to Hungary has compiled a list of what the country needs to strengthen its defence capabilities. Among the equipment requested are ammunition of various calibres, protective helmets, bulletproof vests, special medical vehicles, and so on. Ljubov Nepop, Ukraine’s ambassador, added:
“We understand that every country has different options, and we hope that Hungary will find the opportunity to provide this kind of assistance.”
The Hungarian government has not yet reacted to the list.
In a video of the meeting uploaded to Orbán’s Facebook page, for a few seconds, the operations room of the Hungarian Defence Forces can be seen, and in the operations room, there is a projected map of Eastern Hungary. The inscription “Eastern Shield 2022” can be seen on the map, and it reveals that this could be a schematic map of a military plan for a possible invasion of Ukraine.
The screenshot shows that the key Hungarian settlements of the plan are Kisvárda, Vásárosnamény, Fehérgyarmat, Nyírtelek, Nyíregyháza, Hajdúhadháza, and Debrecen, and on the Ukrainian side, these are Ungvár, Munkács, Berehovo, and Huszt. However, the cartographers have also highlighted five crossing points on the Hungarian-Ukrainian border with yellow discs. The map also shows five soldiers, two helicopters, two fighters, a tank, and two armoured troop carriers, symbolising the units to be mobilised.
According to Telex, however, the threat from Ukraine is not military. The text in the top right-hand corner of the map, which is vaguely legible, reads “600,000 refugees from across the Carpathians”.
At the UN General Assembly on Wednesday, US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said her government estimated that a possible Russian invasion could displace 5 million people, “triggering one of the biggest refugee crises of our time”.
Orbán’s latest Facebook post reads
“Hungary must stay out of this military conflict!”
Since the start of the Russian invasion on Thursday morning, he has not posted on Facebook.
However, Minister of Foreign Affairs Péter Szijjártó already informed people in a live Facebook video after the invasion started.
“Unfortunately, the worst scenario has occurred in our neighbourhood, namely, war,”
he announced after Russia attacked Ukraine at dawn. Szijjártó said that even the diplomatic efforts of the biggest and strongest countries could not prevent the war.
“Hungary’s position is clear: we stand by Ukraine, we stand by Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.”
Source: Telex, Portfólió