Ukraine-Hungary relations complicated, but they cannot be called destructive - expert

Ukraine-Hungary relations complicated, but they cannot be called destructive - expert

Hungary generally shares the position of the EU and NATO regarding the Russian-Ukrainian war, and the country's desire to take a "third" position on some issues is determined by the internal policy of its current political leadership.

Yuriy Yakymenko, president of the Razumkov Center, said this in a comment to Ukrinform.

"I do not think that Hungary chooses a different side [in Russia's war against Ukraine] than the side of those associations of which it is a member, that is, the European Union and NATO. And the European Union as an intergovernmental association and NATO as a defensive military bloc have a clear position in relation to Russia. This is, rather, an attempt to take a special 'third' position - in general, we are not against what the entire structure stands for, but we set a 'red line' for ourselves in certain areas," Yakymenko said.

In this context, he noted that not only Hungary acts like this, because, for example, some countries allow Ukraine to use their weapons for strikes inside Russia, while others do not.

The expert also stated that in the public realm, Ukraine pays more attention to statements by Hungarian officials, which are somewhat uncomfortable for Ukraine in view of the war and its strategic goals, that is, integration into the EU and joining NATO. At the same time, less attention is paid to areas where daily cooperation continues, which has never stopped, in particular on the economy, and especially energy, he said.

"If we talk about our current energy capacity crisis, a significant part of Ukrainian energy imports comes from Hungary. That is, in fact, the field of our relations is much wider than it falls into the focus of the media. That is why it is important to try to assess the situation as a whole," Yakymenko said.

In this context, he said that on problematic issues, the Hungarian leadership in communication with the leadership of the European Union and other EU countries adjusts its position to a certain extent, taking into account the European mainstream regarding Ukraine.

"Therefore, relations between Ukraine and Hungary are complicated, but at the same time they cannot be called unequivocally destructive or bad. Rather, there are certain areas of discomfort and problems," the expert said.

Commenting on some tensions in military and economic cooperation between Ukraine and Hungary, he noted that it is primarily due to the political position of the current Hungarian leadership.

"But in my memory as an expert, analyst and participant in these processes, there was a period in the early 2000s, when Hungary very actively -- at the level of governmental and non-governmental organizations and diplomats -- contributed to Ukraine's rapprochement with NATO. That is, there were different moments, and they actually depend on the internal political composition in Hungary and the political forces that are in power at a certain time," Yakymenko said.

Read also: Stoltenberg: Hungary agrees not to veto NATO support for Ukraine

He also noted that Hungary strongly feels the Russian influence, which is of an economic nature. According to him, the Hungarian authorities must take this into account in their internal policy, because the socio-economic situation in the country depends on it.

"In addition, there are certain local interests - not to be involved in a war with Russia, not to worsen relations with it... But here our interests diverge," the expert said.

However, he said, "we can't get anywhere" from such problematic neighbors as Hungary and Slovakia.

"There are such governments now. You should not think that this is forever, because there are elections, and the situation there will also change," Yakymenko said.


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