Ukraine can’t win the war against Russia, Prime Minister Viktor Orban, widely perceived to be the closest European Union nation to the Kremlin, said in an interview.
Looking at the figures, looking at the surroundings, looking at the fact that NATO is not ready to send troops, it’s obvious that there is no victory for poor Ukrainians on the battlefield.”
Orban told Bloomberg Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait on Tuesday.
The war can only be stopped when Russia clinches an agreement with the US, Orban said. He added that he hopes Donald Trump will win re-election next year and that, while he has been at odds with President Joe Biden, it was not good for business to criticize the US.
Speaking at the Qatar Economic Forum in Doha, Orban said his government has diverged from the “mainstream” European Union approach to Ukraine after Russia invaded its neighbor last year.
Under his self-styled “illiberal” leadership, Hungary is blocking a €500 million-euro ($540 million) tranche of EU financial aid to Ukraine. It also opposes new sanctions against Russia, citing bilateral disputes with the government in Kyiv.
They include a demand for Kyiv to take OTP Bank Nyrt. — Hungary’s largest lender which has operations in both Russia and Ukraine — off of a list of international war sponsors.
Last week, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto also said that Ukraine was limiting the educational rights of the country’s ethnic-Hungarian citizens. Then he pointed to a Washington Post story suggesting that President Volodymyr Zelenskiy had at one point talked about blowing up a pipeline delivering oil from Russia to Hungary via Ukraine.
Orban’s approach to Ukraine and close ties with Russia have underscored his fractious relationship with his allies in the EU and NATO. Many members of the alliance have criticized him for undermining democracy and allowing corruption to thrive during his more than a decade-long stint in power.
Hungary is one of only a few NATO members that have refused to supply weapons to help Ukraine beat back Russia’s invasion. Orban’s critics say his push for the EU to cut financing to Kyiv is akin to asking for capitulation to Russian aggression.