Hungary Blasts Zelensky Over Comments Questioning NATO Loyalty

A new war of words has erupted between Hungary and Ukraine, after President Zelensky in an interview last Friday questioned Hungary's 'friendship' with Russia

Zelensky had charged that Hungary under Prime Minister Viktor Orban had been displaying "inappropriate behavior" for a NATO member, suggesting it shouldn't be consulted on important defense matters such as whether Ukraine should be let into the alliance.

"It seems to me that confusion reigns among the Hungarian political elite. This is a very strange situation. Can a NATO country simultaneously be with Russia and against NATO?" Zelensky had posited.

In response, Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said Zelensky has no right to weigh in on Hungary's decision-making, stressing his nation and people have already paid a high price for the conflict, even including losing Hungarians, a reference to ethnic Hungarians living in Zakarpattya Oblast in western Ukraine.

"Fortunately, he is not the one to decide this," the foreign minister said in reference to Zelensky's words. "The Hungarian people have already paid an extremely high price for this war."

Szijjártó then took sarcastic tone, reminding Ukraine of everything it has already done

"If this statement (by Zelensky) 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."

Among the more recent controversial stances of Viktor Orban has been to say that Hungarian authorities would not arrest President Vladimir Putin. He said this in March after the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for the Russian leader over alleged human rights violations connected to the war in Ukraine. This despite Hungary's having signed and ratified the Rome Statute that established the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the first place.

Hungary's stance has generally been to condemn the Russian invasion, while at the same time resisting a number of EU sanctions measures, particularly related to energy, as well as pushing both sides to negotiate peace. Orban has been a rare European leader who has broken from NATO consensus while maintaining open and positive communications with the Kremlin.

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