Hungary and Slovakia block EU military aid to Ukraine

European Union
The ministers of Hungary, Peter Szijjarto, and Slovakia, Juraj Blanár, were present during the Council of the EU foreign ministers.

Once again, Hungary impedes the European Union from providing crucial military aid to Ukraine, aligning with Russia’s interests. This aid, which was discussed in a meeting of the 27 EU foreign ministers on Monday, could amount to some 6.5 billion euros and is intended to bolster Ukraine’s defense capabilities. However, the Hungarian government’s opposition has stalled these efforts, prompting calls for Budapest to stop blocking measures proposed by the Union.

Before the meeting, Lithuania’s minister of foreign affairs, Gabrielius Landsbergis, accused Hungary of systematically obstructing EU foreign policy of solidarity with Kyiv.

“The best way to help Ukraine is to help Ukraine win, but instead, we are shielding Russia’s occupation. If we cannot get over our fear of success, we will only invite more failure,” Minister Landsbergis posted on X. This statement reflects the frustration of many EU member states with Hungary’s opposition to the EU’s military aid to Ukraine, and it underscores the urgency of the situation.

“Almost all of our discussions and needed solutions and decisions by (the) EU are being blocked by just one country,” he told reporters as he arrived at the meeting in Brussels.

Margus Tsahkna, Estonia’s minister of foreign affairs, also prepared the ground for his country’s position. Recently, Estonia, like Finland and Lithuania, became the target of hybrid attacks by Russia. These attacks, which involve cyber attacks, and disinformation campaigns, are designed to destabilise and divide the EU, and they underscore the need for a coordinated and robust EU response.

“I am on my way to #Brussels 🇧🇪#FAC 🇪🇺 to discuss: Supporting  #Ukraine. We need to do more, quicker & differently. Moving on with additional sanctions on Russia. Using Russia’s frozen assets for 🇺🇦,” he posted on X on May 26.

Italy, along with a chorus of other EU member states, expressed strong dissatisfaction with Budapest’s behaviour before the meeting. Ministers of Germany, Ireland, and Poland, among others, urged Hungarian foreign minister Peter Szijjarto to lift Budapest’s blocks on measures to help Ukraine with billions of euros in military aid, underscoring the widespread concern over Hungary’s stance.

“Hungary is blocking almost half of all EU decisions regarding Ukraine, above all the 8th refund package for aid delivered to 🇺🇦by member states, to their, and Poland’s utmost irritation,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland posted on X.

EU decisions on foreign policy require the unanimous backing of all 27 member states.

However, Hungary refuses to change its position, which favours peace, according to its foreign minister. 

Before the meeting, the Hungarian minister gave an idea of the positions he had to defend during the Council.

“More and crazier and more wild ideas are coming to light from European politicians: sending soldiers to Ukraine, firing Russian missiles over Ukraine, nuclear war, European infantry, what else is next? I wonder what wild idea they will come up with at today’s Foreign Affairs Council meeting?” Szijjarto wrote on Facebook.  

Following the meeting, he made severe comments against his colleagues.

“German, Irish, and Polish colleagues created a scene, but that could not change our position, regardless of what the war-favouring politicians are shouting.”

Noting that hysteria prevailed during the Council “on our skin,” he added, “It’s a pity to shout with us, we’ll stay on the party of peace!.” 

However, Hungary found an ally in the new pro-Russian government of Bratislava. This alignment has raised concerns about a potential shift in the balance of power within the EU and the implications for the bloc’s foreign policy, particularly in relation to Russia and Ukraine. 

Szijjarto appreciated the Slovak position, noting in a Facebook post that the two countries share common views on the matter.

“Two sane voices in mad war psychosis…,” he posted.

Three days ago, Juraj Blanár, the Slovak minister of foreign affairs, described the position he would defend during the Council in an interview with a Slovak TV channel. 

“The way to finding peaceful solutions does not lead through the deployment of air protection systems on the territory of Slovakia, which in this way will not engage in the war conflict and will not help to fire Russian missiles over Ukraine. We strongly reject this,” Blanár told the TV. 

According to diplomats, Hungary is blocking several measures linked to the European Peace Facility (EPF), an EU-backed fund providing Ukraine with billions of euros in military aid.

“It has gone very, very far,” Landsbergis posted on X. “We have to find a way, really, as a community to work around this.”

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