Watch: NATO Accepts Hungary's Non-Participation in Ukraine Operations

  • 17 Jun 2024 10:44 AM
  • Hungary Matters
Watch: NATO Accepts Hungary's Non-Participation in Ukraine Operations
NATO accepts Hungary’s position under which the country does not wish to participate in military or financial efforts towards supporting Ukraine, while Hungary would not block such NATO efforts, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said after talks with Prime Minister Viktor Orbán in Budapest on Wednesday.

Stoltenberg said he was expecting an agreement at NATO’s July summit in Washington, DC, under which the organisation could take a leading role in coordinating and promoting security support and training for Ukraine.

Stoltenberg said he hoped NATO would take a long-term financial commitment to provide military support to Ukraine, adding that it would ensure NATO’s predictability and reliability for Ukraine.

He referred to Orbán stating that Hungary would not participate in those NATO efforts, adding: “I accept this position”.

Stoltenberg welcomed that he and Orbán had made an agreement ensuring ways for Hungary’s non-participation in NATO’s support for Ukraine. He confirmed that no Hungarian personnel would take part in those NATO activities and no Hungarian funds would be used for such purposes.

The NATO chief said Orbán had assured him that Hungary would continue to meet its NATO commitments in full.

He said Hungary had always been a highly esteemed NATO ally in the past 25 years and highly appreciated the Hungarian prime minister stating that Hungary would remain “a loyal and committed” NATO ally.

Stoltenberg noted that Hungary was leading a multinational NATO unit and also hosted an important multidivision headquarters while it also supported stability in the Western Balkans and participated in KFOR’s peace-keeping operations in Kosovo.

He added that since the start of Russia’s brutal war against Ukraine Hungary had continued to accommodate Ukrainian refugees and helped in the rehabilitation of injured soldiers. All those efforts have contributed to common security, the NATO chief said.

Defmin: NATO Ministers Confirm Hungary's Non-Participation in Ukraine Mission

Defence ministers of NATO have confirmed in a meeting in Brussels that Hungary could stay away from participating in the organisation’s NATO mission in Ukraine, Defence Minister Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky said.

“Hungary will continue to be a committed, loyal, and appreciated member of NATO,” the minister said in a video on Facebook.

Referring to a recent agreement between Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, the minister said “Hungary would stay out of the mission NATO is planning to launch in connection with the war in Ukraine, with 31 countries participating.”

Hungary will not contribute “money, arms, or troops” to that cooperative effort “but will not bloc it, either,” he added.

Szalay-Bobrovniczky said he had told his Ukrainian counterpart, who had attended the meeting, that “the Hungarian minority is actively participating in the war … several of them have made the biggest sacrifice, giving their lives for Ukraine.”

“Therefore it is justified to expect that all earlier rights are restored to the Hungarian minority,” he added.

PM: Hungary Not to Send Money, Troops to Ukraine

Hungary will not be obliged to participate in military actions outside its territory or send money or troops to Ukraine, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said after meeting NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

Hungary is a “loyal and committed member” of NATO, Orbán told a joint press conference, noting that the country currently had 1,300 troops participating in NATO missions.

He added that Hungary was “one of the not too many countries” that performed “all their commitments” to NATO with its defence spending exceeding 2% of GDP and the country “also meeting the 20% capability development goal”.

Orbán praised Stoltenberg as a NATO leader highly appreciated in Hungary, adding that under his leadership cooperation between Hungary and NATO had strengthened.

Orbán said he acknowledged “the significant weight and number” of positions differing from Hungary’s on the war.

He said he had made it clear during the talks that Hungary would not block NATO decisions “which could differ from the rational decisions based on our assessment of the situation but which other member states share and support”.

Hungary has received the required guarantees from Stoltenberg that “any military operation outside the organisation’s territory can only be performed on a voluntary basis,” Orbán said.

Szijjártó: Most NATO Members View War in Ukraine 'Differently' from Hungary

The position of the majority of NATO member states concerning the war in Ukraine and the possibility of peace is entirely different from that of Hungary, the foreign minister said on Wednesday.

NATO is preparing to launch a mission concerning Ukraine which Hungary deems “dangerous and unnecessary”, but since NATO’s 31 other members have a different view “we cannot prevent that,” Péter Szijjártó said on Facebook.

He said the Hungarian government’s most important goal and task was to secure a guarantee that Hungarian troops should not be obliged to participate in the planned mission, that Hungarian taxpayers’ money should not be used for its financing and that there should be “no military event taking place in Hungary’s territory,” Szijjártó said.

“The threat of the war’s escalation is now bigger than ever,” he said, adding that “continued efforts are expected to be made to maintain Hungary’s security and to ensure that the country is not involved in the war.”


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