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Hungary seeks to opt out of Nato efforts to support Ukraine

HUNGARY will seek to opt out of any Nato operations aimed at supporting Ukraine, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said today, suggesting that the military alliance and the European Union are moving towards a more direct conflict with Russia.

Mr Orban told state radio that his government opposes a plan Nato is weighing up to provide more predictable military support to Ukraine in coming years to repel Moscow’s forces, as better armed Russian troops increasing get the upper hand on the battlefield.

“We do not approve of this, nor do we want to participate in financial or arms support [for Ukraine], even within the framework of Nato,” Mr Orban said, adding that Hungary has taken a position as a “non-participant” in any potential Nato operations to assist Kiev.

“We’ve got to redefine our position within the military alliance and our lawyers and officers are working on … how Hungary can exist as a Nato member while not participating in Nato actions outside of its territory,” he said.

Mr Orban, considered Russian President Vladimir Putin’s closest partner in the European Union, emphasised Nato’s role as a defensive alliance and said he did not share the concerns of some other central and east European countries that Russia’s military wouldn't cease its aggression if it wins the current war.

“Nato’s strength cannot be compared to that of Ukraine,” he said.

“I don’t consider it a logical proposition that Russia, which cannot even deal with Ukraine, will come all of a sudden and swallow up the whole Western world.”

Hungary has refused to supply neighbouring Ukraine with military aid, in contrast to most other EU countries, and Mr Orban has vigorously opposed the bloc’s sanctions against Moscow, though  he has always voted for them in the end.

The far-right leader is preparing for European Parliament election on June 6-9 and has cast his party as a guarantor of peace in the region.

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