December 1, 2023


Hungary’s Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó on Wednesday summoned the Ukrainian ambassador over what he said were “unacceptable” and “insulting” statements made by Kyiv.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has repeatedly called out Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán over his stance toward Russia — including after Orbán’s election victory on Sunday, which has caused fury in Budapest.

“It is time for Ukrainian leaders to stop insulting Hungary and take into account the will of the Hungarian people,” Szijjártó wrote in a post on Facebook. “Statements about … the regret of the will of the Hungarian people are unacceptable,” he added.

After the election, Zelenskyy said Tuesday on Ukrainian public television that Orbán had to choose now between Moscow and “the other world” — referring to the West — and claimed the veteran prime minister was afraid of Russian influence.

Szijjártó wasn’t impressed.

“We condemn military aggression, we stand for the sovereignty of Ukraine,” Szijjártó wrote. “At the same time, of course, the safety of Hungary and the Hungarian people is most important for us. This is not our war.”

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said he counted Zelenskyy as one of his “opponents” in his victory speech Sunday after he stormed to a fourth straight term in office by a landslide.

Zelenskyy previously criticized Orbán for dragging his feet on sanctions against Russia at a European Council summit last month. He compared Moscow’s siege of Mariupol to the Hungarian fascists that executed thousands of Hungarian Jews on the bank of the Danube River in Budapest during World War II. “Viktor, do you know what’s going on in Mariupol?” he said, “You need to decide for yourself who you are with.”

Despite the huge margin of Orbán’s victory, international observers said the election was “marred by the absence of a level playing field” due to Orbán’s tight grip over media and access to significantly more funds for campaigning.

Hungary’s foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


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