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Hungarian Parliament Speaker: West’s Push to Turn Ukraine Into Anti-Russian Bridgehead is a ‘Strategic Mistake’

Samizdat – 21.12.2022

Budapest has stood alone among NATO’s Eastern European flank in rejecting the transfer of weapons to Ukraine via its territory. Prime Minister Viktor Orban has essentially labeled the Ukrainian conflict a Russia-US proxy war, citing the need for peace talks between Russia and the US, rather than Moscow and Kiev, for the conflict to stop.

Hungarian Parliament speaker Laszlo Kover has lashed out against Western governments’ “hypocritical” behavior in Ukraine, and warned that the West’s attempts to pry Kiev out of Russia’s orbit and turn it into an armed base against Russia has proven to be a “strategic mistake.”

“I think the Western world made a strategic mistake when it tried to not only take Ukraine out of Moscow’s sphere of interest, but also turn it into a large military base against Russia,” Kover said in a broad ranging interview with a Hungarian radio station on Tuesday.

Asked whether he sees any prospects for a diplomatic resolution to the crisis, Kover said that if he “wanted to be cynical,” he would point out that Western countries have already found a workaround, by “proclaiming the protection of European values and international law and accusing Russia of all kinds of crimes, with basis or without basis. In the meantime, they have tried to stock up on Russian oil and gas, so their trade volume with Russia actually jumped radically after sanctions were announced.”

The politician, who is a member of Prime Minister Orban’s Fidesz party, accused Hungary’s European allies of engaging in a “hypocritical show” in Ukraine and behaving in a “terribly hypocritical and irrational” way, destroying their own economies, even as the United States “has embarked on the path of an openly protectionist economic policy,” by setting up trade barriers to European automobiles, for example, making American cars 25-30 percent cheaper than their European-made counterparts.

“This is clearly offensive. It violates all kinds of free trade rules and agreements, and of course violates the legitimate interests of European car manufacturers. Now, compared to this [the crisis with Russia, ed.] the leaders of the EU member states and the European Council are watching events with drooling glee, and we haven’t seen even a harsh outburst or verbal reaction, lest they take some kind of countermeasure, some kind of defensive step,” Kover complained.

The parliament speaker suggested that from the “first moment” of the Russia-West proxy conflict in Ukraine, the goal was to try to “destroy Russia economically, politically, in every sense” and to separate Moscow from the European Union, “to create a new Iron Curtain,” no matter the cost to Europe.

“This means in practice that the space of continuous economic and political cooperation based on mutual, fair consideration of interests, which could have been created in a unified Eurasia stretching to Portugal to say, Southeast Asia, seems to be falling apart at this moment, and I think that the damage caused by this conflict will stay with us for the rest of our lives,” Kover said.

Kover stressed that Hungary’s position has been and remains to defend its elementary economic interests by withdrawing from some EU-level sanctions against Russia “to prevent decisions that harm us more than Russia.” The official added that “the whole sanctions regime has hurt Europe much more than Russia, and I think we should fight here in Central Europe so that this scenario, where we become the eastern periphery of a North Atlantic empire, does not come true.”

Kover reiterated that measures were necessary “to try to end this armed conflict as quickly as possible,” even if it takes “years before this can take the form of some kind of peace treaty.” In the meantime, “we should try to create a new Central European or pan-European peace system in which each [country’s] security needs are taken into account by the other side,” the official said.

As for NATO’s role in the Ukraine crisis, Kover urged the Western alliance to stick to preparing to defend the sovereignty and security of alliance members, and not allow the bloc to drift into a hot war with Russia. “It’s very close to it anyway, because while no NATO members are involved in the war de jure… when a country supplies weapons to another that is at war or when a country or political community tries to destabilize the economic life of another country via various sanctions, blockades or the freezing of assets, this can be considered a kind of warfare.”

Relations between Hungary and Ukraine have been strained since the 2014 Euromaidan coup, which brought nationalist forces to power in Kiev which gradually moved to deprive the 150,000-strong community of ethnic Hungarian Ukrainians living in western Ukraine of their rights, including the right to receive an education in their native tongue.

Amid the escalation of the crisis, Hungarian and Ukrainian officials have gotten into a series of vicious verbal spats, with Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry asking Kover to produce a note from a psychiatrist on his mental state after the speaker suggested that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was suffering from a “mental problem.”

December 21, 2022 - Posted by | Economics, Militarism, Russophobia | , , , ,

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