June 21, 2024

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In a word, Orban is “freezing” Ukraine’s hopes for membership

In a word, Orban is “freezing” Ukraine’s hopes for membership

Hungary’s strained relationship with neighboring Ukraine worsened on Friday (21/04) as Prime Minister Viktor Orban put the brakes on his country’s NATO dreams. With a one-word tweet.

What;“Ukraine’s rightful place is in NATO,” Orban wrote in a reply letter to a political article about NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg’s statement in Kiev on Thursday.

Relations between Budapest and Kiev are tense. Hungary spent years blocking high-level NATO meetings with Ukrainian officials, Ostensibly due to concerns about the rights of Hungarian speakers in western Ukraine.

And although it condemned the large-scale Russian invasion, Hungary refused to send weapons to help its neighbor. Meanwhile, top Hungarian officials continue to visit Moscow regularly and maintain close relations with the Kremlin. At the same time, Hungary’s collusion with Turkey to prevent Sweden’s membership in NATO frustrated Western capitals.

NATO allies, including Hungary, decided in 2008 that Ukraine would eventually join the alliance. But Kiev’s path to NATO bogged down, and in September the Ukrainian leadership called for an “accelerated process” of accession.

But the topic is very sensitive. Most NATO allies, including the United States, They want to avoid major moves in the integration process in Ukraine while the war continues.

During his visit to Kiev, Stoltenberg said he discussed a NATO initiative to help Ukraine move away from Soviet-era military equipment and follow the alliance’s standards.

However, it remains unclear what kind of political message NATO leaders will choose to deliver to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the alliance’s next summit, scheduled for July.

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Without a sovereign Ukraine, there is no point in discussing membership.

Speaking in Germany on Friday morning as Ukraine’s partners met at Ramstein Air Base to discuss more aid to Kiev, Stoltenberg emphasized that for now the allies want to keep their eyes on the pressing challenge of helping Ukraine win.

«All NATO allies agreed that Ukraine should join NATO“, He said. “But the main focus now, of course, is how to ensure that Ukraine prevails».

«What we do know is that our support is helping Ukraine move towards Euro-Atlantic integrationhe said, adding:Without an independent, sovereign Ukraine, there is no point in discussing membership».

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