Novák: Hungary Stands by Ukraine’s Territorial Integrity


Hungary has always condemned Russian aggression and remains committed to Ukraine’s territorial integrity, Hungarian President Katalin Novák stressed in a recent interview with the Swiss conservative paper Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ), published on Thursday, June 8th. 

The president traveled to Switzerland to attend the 25th Swiss Economic Forum where she delivered a speech about the role of pro-family policies in combating Europe’s demographic crisis, as well as to meet Swiss President Alain Berset and discuss the protection of sovereignty and national minorities in Europe.

“Ukraine is a sovereign country under attack from its neighbor and is doing everything humanly possible to protect its citizens,” Novák said in the interview, adding that the whole of Hungary stands by Kyiv in this effort. Regarding general Western assistance, she said it was clear that 

Russia cannot achieve its military objectives, we cannot allow that.

However, no one seems to know how to achieve fair and sustainable peace in the end, the president added. 

Regarding sanctions, Novák believes they should be used “rationally” to prevent the prolongation of Russian aggression, but only as long as they hurt Russia more than then they hurt Europe’s own economy.

Hungary was also among the first nations to provide humanitarian assistance to the Ukrainian civilians evacuated after shelling destroyed the Nova Kakhovka dam on Tuesday morning, flooding the nearby areas in a matter of hours. 

According to a press release from the Hungarian Interchurch Aid (HIA), the organization delivered five tons of aid to Mykolaiv by Thursday—350 packages containing emergency aid kits, torches, charging cables, candles, and blankets. 

The HIA also said that their aid workers will stay in the area and continue monitoring the situation, and noted that with nearly all public utilities down, the locals make good use of the more than 60 electric generators delivered by the organization since November.

In the NZZ interview, President Novák also talked about prospective EU enlargements, saying that the recent escalation of tensions between Kosovo and Serbia only shows that the EU needs to speed up the West Balkan countries’ EU accession process. 

“If something happens in Kosovo, the situation could escalate very quickly,” Novák said, adding that she hopes “the situation will calm down quickly and that all actors will bear in mind the fragility of this peace.”

She said even if Ukraine and Moldova still have a long way to go until they are ready for EU membership, that doesn’t mean the West Balkan should have to wait for them to catch up before being admitted into the bloc.

For Ukraine to become an EU member eventually, she pointed out, the country will have to restore the fundamental rights of minorities it revoked with the educational and language laws in 2017 and 2019, which not only adversely affected Russian-speaking communities, but native Poles, Romanians, and Hungarians as well. In six years, Kyiv still hasn’t repealed the discriminating laws, despite clear calls from the EU, NATO, OSCE, and the Venice Commission.

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