Hungarian PM says countries can’t count on NATO to protect them — Analysis

Viktor Orban spoke out about relations with the EU, sanctions on Russia and gave his opinion.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Friday morning that he felt he couldn’t count on the Western bloc when it comes to real action concerning the country’s security.

NATO can protect us if we’re ready to defend ourselves. Anybody who believes NATO will defend us is mistaken,” he said in an interview for Kossuth state radio.

Orban expressed gratitude for the fact Hungary was able to rebuild its army from 2010 and be strong enough that it could protect its own country and allies. Still, he believes the country should stay away from war, as it was not “Hungary’s job to sort out world politics.” The president added that the safety of Hungarian citizens was his top priority in this conflict. 

Orban also warned that Western sanctions against Russia pose an “immediate danger” to the economy, noting that they have already had an impact in Hungary, where energy prices escalated rapidly, prompting further inflation.

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Sanctions come with a price, as they are a double-edged tool. This price will soon be paid.,” he said in the interview, adding that it was “This is only the beginning.” 

Orban made comments about the arrival of Ukrainian refugees in Hungary. Although 70% to 80% are leaving Hungary for other countries to seek work, Orban said Hungary would like to keep those that stay. He also stated that the prime minister is already in talks with employers. While he said that Hungary is willing to accept refugees for three more months, he warned them that once they have settled in the Hungarian community, it will be difficult to support their integration. As the coronavirus epidemic continues to be a problem, he also highlighted the importance of health care.

The UN estimates that more than one million Ukrainians fled Ukraine after Moscow launched its offensive on Thursday. They sought safety in Russia, Poland, Hungary, Moldova and Romania.

In the wake of Russia’s invasion, the European Union and other countries have placed a number of severe sanctions on Moscow, including barring several of the country’s banks from the global payment system, SWIFT, and closing airspace to Russian aircraft. Prominent international brands such as Apple, IKEA, H&M and Airbnb have also suspended their operations in Russia over the Ukrainian conflict.

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