Recalling the 1999 Yugoslav War and the 2014 Crimean conflict, the Prime Minister stressed that now – the same as in these earlier situations – the Hungarian position is that Hungary must be left out of this war, this armed conflict, and this is what efforts must be concentrated on.
He took the view that when a war breaks out, there is chaos, and a situation develops that calls for nervous, hasty, swift measures. “It’s very important that in a country that is situated close to a war region – Hungary is a neighbouring country – this shouldn’t happen. I call this strategic calm. That’s what we need now,” Mr Orbán said.
He highlighted that we must abstain from any rash, swiftly adopted decision, any rash demand or initiative which may sound popular, but whose far-reaching consequences remain unconsidered. He mentioned as one of these the demand of the Hungarian Left that Hungary send soldiers to the war zone. This lacks the virtue of strategic patience and strategic calm, he pointed out.
He said there is no need for this, and neither should anyone urge that Hungary send arms to the region. He added that we are a neighbouring country, and those weapons might well also be used for shooting at Hungarian people as there are also Hungarians living in Transcarpathia, and soldiers are being conscripted from there as well.
The Prime Minister indicated that the Hungarian position is unable to change, given that there are no weapons we could dispense with. At this point in time, the Hungarian army needs all its weapons in order to be deployed at the country’s Eastern borders and to protect our borders should the need arise, he said.
Mr Orbán recalled that a few years ago, having the gut feeling that in the decade ahead security will be the number one priority, Hungary embarked on a defence forces development programme. However, the factories are only just being built, and no equipment has come off the conveyor belts yet. Hungary, even if it wanted to, would not be able to place any military equipment at the disposal of others, but it has no intention of doing so, he said.
We are preparing for peace, this is why we had to start defence industry developments. The next decade will be about who is able to create a safe environment for their own country, for the everyday lives of their own people, he argued.
Every refugee coming from Ukraine must be helped; those who come from the neighbouring country can rest assured that in Hungary they will be received by friends, the Prime Minister stated.
Mr Orbán said Hungary is a friend of Ukraine and also of the Ukrainian people, we will provide care for them, we will provide accommodation, we will look after the children.
He said those who flee from a neighbouring country because there is a war there must be helped; that is an elementary human, Christian life instinct, and that is what Hungary follows, he stressed.
Referring to people who help refugees, he said “this is a good country inhabited by good people”.
He said one likewise does not have to be a rocket scientist to differentiate between the masses heading out from far-off Muslim countries for Europe in the hope of a better life and helping Ukrainians fleeing to Hungary due to the Ukraine-Russia war.
Those who fail to see that difference are blind to international politics, he said.
In his view, people who come from far-away countries, crossing quite a few safe third countries must be given care and help there. “But where should poor Ukrainians go? We are their neighbours,” he said.
Every refugee coming from our neighbour must be helped because there is a war there. It does not matter why, it does not matter whose fault it is, it does not matter how it happened, he said.
There is a war, but also in this situation, the interests of Hungary, of the Hungarian people come first, the Prime Minister underlined.
Mr Orbán highlighted that every hour they deal with determining which decisions serve the interests of Hungary and the Hungarian people best. They must also consider which sanctions, including energy policy sanctions, could harm the Hungarian people.
He said, therefore, the issues of Paks 2 and energy must be removed from the issues of sanctions because otherwise we will pay the price of the war, and no one can possibly want that.
He added that while he does not believe in the beneficial effect of sanctions and has yet to see a country or a conflict that was driven towards peace by sanctions, now there is a war under way, and we must be unified, rather than trying to be overly clever.
Any sanctions that EU countries agree on Hungary will support, the Prime Minister stressed. Mr Orbán dismissed all contrary news reports – including that Hungary vetoed the suspension of the international interbank transfer system – as lies.
He also drew attention to the fact that there is an information war going on. At times like this, words carry more weight, Mr Orbán pointed out, observing that we must also expect disinformation campaigns.