Belgium, (Brussels Morning Newspaper) Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán assured a rally on Tuesday that the country is to stay out of the war in Ukraine. Accusing the opposition of attempting to drag the country into conflict, he stressed that Hungary will not send troops or weapons to Ukraine, Reuters reported.
Orbán is looking to secure a fourth consecutive term as PM in April. However, his party is facing a coalition of six opposition parties. The war in Ukraine is complicating his re-election campaign, given his closeness to Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.
At Tuesday’s rally, Orbán pointed out that Europe was a “chessboard” for large powers, while warning that Hungary could fall victim if it did not protect its interests.
“Russia looks at Russian interests, while Ukraine looks at Ukrainian interests”, he declared, observing that “neither the US nor Brussels would think with Hungarians’ mind and feel with Hungarians’ hearts.”
Stressing the need to stay out of the war, Orbán stated that come April voters would face a choice between peace and the leftist opposition , which, he warned, “would stagger into a ruthless, protracted and bloody war.”
Opposition candidate criticises Orbán
Péter Márki-Zay, the opposition coalition’s candidate for PM, has campaigned on a pro-EU platform. He has criticised Orbán for his ties with Russia, accusing the PM of building an authoritarian system along the same lines as Putin, and maintaining that corruption is rampant and media freedoms are curbed.
The opposition candidate told a political rally that deciding who to support in the coming elections had never been as simple and straightforward. “We only have one choice: we must choose Europe instead of the East… and freedom instead of authoritarianism.”
Márki-Zay pointed out how the European Commission had expressed its concerns about the lack of democratic standards in Hungary. He claimed that Orbán’s “unlimited power has resulted in unlimited corruption.”
According to the polls, Orbán’s Fidesz party led the opposition coalition at the end of February by 39% against 32%.
Orbán, who has rejected the opposition’s charges, has condemned Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and has announced that Hungary would not veto EU sanctions against Russia. However, he insisted that sanctions must not jeopardise Hungary’s energy supplies.