Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 20.01.2018
Hungary is a saboteur within NATO, serving the interests of Russia. The Hungary's government of Victor Orbán now stands alone against the other 28 members of the North Atlantic alliance. Hungary is wrecking collective security.
On January 18, Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó stated that Hungary will block a NATO-Ukraine ministerial meeting. He said that at a meeting with the Head of the Society of Hungarian Culture in Zakarpatia and also a Verkhovna Rada deputy, Vasyl Brenzovych – in other words, while he was interfering in the internal affairs of Ukraine. Szijjártó has been using the Hungarian minority within Zakarpatia – who are Ukrainian citizens – as a weapon to attack Ukraine. The nominal excuse is Ukraine’s education law, but no one seriously believes that is the reason for Hungary’s obstructionism.
Ukraine’s education law asserts that the primary language of instruction in Ukrainian state schools within Ukraine shall be Ukrainian. That’s it. That benign and normal policy is what Szijjártó has been making extreme statements about for months. That’s why Hungary is blocking every diplomatic, economic, and political contact between Ukraine and NATO (and the European Union as well).
Ukraine is on a path to NATO membership. This has been clear since 2008. Hungary and Ukraine were both liberated from Russian domination and occupation in 1991. Hungary joined NATO in 1999 and Ukraine is waiting for its turn. When Ukraine joins NATO it will make a massive contribution to North Atlantic collective security, especially given Ukraine’s experience since 2014 in fighting and stopping Russia’s invasion of Europe in Crimea and Donbas.
Only Russia’s interests are served by Hungary blocking NATO ministerial talks. Hungary is harmed, because other NATO members oppose the Orbán government’s obstructionism and will isolate Hungary diplomatically. Hungary has no friends in this fight except the Putin regime.
Hungary has no rational argument to make its case. Stirring up the ancient race hatreds of blood nationalism belongs in the 19th Century, and will get the Orbán government nowhere. Blocking a NATO-Ukraine ministerial meeting harms NATO, harms Ukraine, and mostly harms Hungary. The imprudent language and irrational actions of Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó only benefits Russian aggression, and the Putin regime that is at war with the West.