Hungary's foreign minister lashes out after Zelenskyy casts doubt on Budapest’s commitment to NATO
Péter Szijjártó (Photo:Szijjártó Péter/Facebook)
A war of words has erupted between Ukraine and Hungary, with Kyiv and Budapest trading barbed comments on Russia’s war on Ukraine and Hungary’s commitment to NATO principles.
Hungary has paid “an extremely high price” for the war in Ukraine, Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said in a post on Facebook post on April 30, responding to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's earlier comment that Budapest should not qualify for NATO membership.
Szijjártó said that Zelenskyy had no right to assess Hungary's actions as a NATO member.
"Fortunately, he is not the one to decide this," Szijjártó said. “The Hungarian people have already paid an extremely high price for this war.”
Szijjártó added that many Hungarians — members of the Hungarian community in Zakarpattya Oblast in western Ukraine — had already died in the war.
"If this statement (by Zelenskyy) means: ‘I respectfully thank the Hungarians for letting in and taking care of more than a million refugees from Ukraine, and I respectfully thank you for continuously sending aid,’ then they are welcome, and can count on us in the future as well," the Hungarian foreign minister wrote.
Szijjártó’s statement came a day after Zelenskyy, when asked how he assessed Budapest's position on not supporting Ukraine's accession to NATO, and whether it was possible to resolve this "dispute," said that Hungary's political elites were politically confused, as “it is irrational that a NATO country calls the aggressor Russia its friend.”
Zelenskyy then said that Hungary was an ally of the alliance solely on paper.
Hungary continues to buy gas from Russia and has refused to allow deliveries of weapons to Ukraine to transit its territory.
Szijjártó has also visited Moscow several times for talks since the start of Russia’s full-scale war on Ukraine, despite the other NATO allies maintaining a policy of diplomatically isolating Russian dictator Vladimir Putin.
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