The United States urged Hungary to restore relations with Ukraine and not to try to block cooperation between Kyiv and NATO, stating “if Ukraine fails, Hungary will be at the front line of Russian aggression,” the Voice of America reported.
US Ambassador in Budapest David Kornstein told the Parliament Committee that Hungary can do more for “establishing priority alliances” while Russia again poses a threat to Ukraine and Europe. “Now more than ever, Russia is testing the West,” Kornstein noted in a statement published by the US Embassy. ”We are convinced that for the NATO allies, the best way to promote reforms in Ukraine is to do that through dialogue with Ukraine, not blocking cooperation between Ukraine and NATO.”
Kornstein stated that Hungary, who relies heavily on Russian oil and nuclear energy resources, is playing with fire by “flirting” with Russian President Vladimir Putin. “We should remember the whole picture,” he said. “Putin is not interested in national sovereignty. He has neo-imperialist views. If Ukraine fails, Hungary will be at the front-line of Russian aggression.”
Levente Magyar, Hungarian Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs told Hungarian Parliamentary Committee that the differences between the USA and Hungary are not strategic and that he expressed hope that the dialogue will help to solve them, the state information agency MTI reports.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban supported western sanctions against Russia for annexing the Crimean peninsula and supporting Russian separatists in the east of Ukraine, but Orban also criticized these sanctions.
Relations between Ukraine and Russia worsened in 2017 when the Verkhovna Rada adopted the law on education that Hungarians saw it as an attempt to restrict the rights of the Hungarian diaspora in the Zakarpattia region. Because of that, the Hungarian Foreign Ministry started to block Ukraine’s participation in NATO activities.