Viktor Orbán spoke with about 15 journalists at a media conference in Mathias Corvinus Collegium on Thursday evening, delivering remarks that have upset the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry.
In addition to Hungary’s relationship with the European Union, the Hungarian Prime Minister also gave his thoughts about the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, claiming that Russia’s goal was to turn Ukraine into an “ungovernable wreck,” and that it was succeeding.
“No-man’s land. It is like Afghanistan,” Orbán allegedly said about the country on Hungary’s northeastern border.
The Prime Minister’s statement about “no-man’s land” appears to have enraged officials in Kyiv. Oleg Nikolaenko, spokesperson of the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, wrote on Facebook that the ministry had asked the Hungarian ambassador, István Íjgyártó, to lodge an official protest against it. One source told Reuters that Orbán’s comment was unacceptable, and that Ukraine reserves the right to take further retaliatory measures.
The relationship between Hungary and Ukraine has been strained for years because of Budapest’s displeasure with minority rights being taken away from ethnic Hungarians in Ukraine, and this tension has only grown with the Orbán government’s refusal to unequivocally stand by Ukraine in its war against Russia.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó has summoned the Ukrainian ambassador and charge d’affaires in Budapest several times already, most recently because of the removal of a statue depicting the Turul, an ancient symbol in Hungarian mythology, from the town of Mukachevo. [Népszava]