The bloc escalates the conflict, as its economy heads into recession, says Viktor Orban
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Oban criticized the EU for choosing an escalating path in the Ukraine crisis. Continuing hostilities and sanctions against Russia are about to plunge its members into a recession, he warned
The remarks on EU foreign policy were made at a summit of Turkish nations in Samarkand, Uzbekistan on Friday. He contrasted the European approach with that of the nations participating in the meeting, in particular Turkey, which mediated between Russia and Ukraine.
“The voice of those who want peace is much calmer than the voice of those who only aggravate tensions,” Orban said of Western policy on Ukraine.
“We in the EU are in an escalating spiral. First we provided non-lethal military aid, then we started sending lethal weapons, now we are training Ukrainian troops on European territory. In the next few days we will decide whether or not to finance the Ukrainian economy,” he explained.
In contrast to this, the Organization of Turkish States (OTS) is a forum for peace, Orban noted. He credited Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan with urging Ukraine and Russia to seek a compromise and facilitating the Black Sea grain deal. This has helped reduce the threat of mass migration from less stable countries, which Hungary sees as a big challenge, the prime minister said.
Orban reiterated his assessment that Western sanctions, which were imposed on Moscow in retaliation for its offensive in Ukraine, were hurting the EU more than Russia. Now, “European economies are heading into recession at high speed” he stated.
The Hungarian leader is a vocal critic of Brussels’ approach to the Ukrainian crisis. His government currently opposes a proposed bloc-wide program to bail out the Ukrainian government, but has pledged to support it on a bilateral basis. Budapest has rejected appeals from kyiv to send arms and is not involved in training Ukrainian troops.
EU leaders said Ukraine should get all the help it needs to defeat Russia on the battlefield and Europeans should be prepared to pay the price.
The OTS, formerly known as the Turkish Council, has Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey and Uzbekistan among its members, with Hungary and Turkmenistan having observer status in the organization.