Orban and Putin declarations on Ukraine

Document: Orban and Putin declarations on the situation in Ukraine 

At his press conference with Putin, 1 February 2022, Orban said the following from which Poland and the Baltic minnows (and other east European states) could learn:

“I was able to tell you how we interpret history. We always stood to lose when a conflict brewed between the West and the East. The long years of the Cold War spelled sorrow and suffering for Hungary. Consequently, we, Hungarians, and other Central European nations are interested in reducing tensions between the West and the East and in doing everything possible to prevent a Cold War and scale down pressure and tensions. In this situation, dialogue and talks are needed to prevent this.

I welcome the dialogue between Russia and our Western allies. I have informed you, and I always tell our allies that it is highly important to continue these talks, this dialogue and to use all possible diplomatic tools to resolve the conflict and reduce tensions.

What can we offer? We can offer the Hungarian model.

The Hungarian model exists in politics: we are members of NATO and the European Union. Nevertheless, we can maintain excellent relations with Russia. This is possible. What do we need for this? We need mutual respect. Hungary has always been respected by President Putin, and we also show such respect for the Russian Federation and President Putin.” 

Putin set out once more what Russia wanted from the US by way of security guarantees:

“I would like to explain once again the logic of our actions and our proposals.

It is common knowledge that we were promised that the NATO bloc infrastructure would not expand eastward by one inch. Everyone knows this.

Today we see where NATO is: in Poland, in Romania and in the Baltic states. They said one thing but did another. As people say, they flaked out on us; they simply cheated. All right, that is it.

Then later, the United States walked out on the ABM Treaty. We tried for a long time to persuade our partners not to do this. It is one of the fundamental treaties on global security. Nevertheless, the US did what it did – withdrew from the treaty. Now anti-ballistic missile launchers are deployed in Romania and are being set up in Poland. They will probably be there soon if they are not yet built. These are MK-41 launchers that can launch Tomahawks. In other words, they are no longer just counter-missiles, and these assault weapons can cover thousands of kilometres of our territory. Isn’t this a threat to us?

Now they say Ukraine is the next step. It should be admitted into NATO.

Listen attentively to what I am saying. It is written into Ukraine’s doctrines that it wants to take Crimea back, by force if necessary. This is not what Ukrainian officials say in public. This is written in their documents.

Suppose Ukraine is a NATO member. It will be filled with weapons, modern offensive weapons will be deployed on its territory just like in Poland and Romania – who is going to prevent this. Suppose it starts operations in Crimea, not to mention Donbass for now. This is sovereign Russian territory. We consider this matter settled. Imagine that Ukraine is a NATO country and starts these military operations. What are we supposed to do? Fight against the NATO bloc? Has anyone given at least some thought to this? Apparently not.

Now, regarding the implementation of the Minsk agreements. On the one hand, we hear statements from Ukraine that it wants to implement them, while we are constantly accused of not implementing the Minsk agreements. On the other hand, we hear public statements to the effect that Ukraine will collapse if it carries out these agreements. Has anyone thought that if they create such threats against Russia, they will only be creating similar threats against themselves?

All these issues require very careful analysis and consideration for each other’s interests. We are being told that each country has the right to choose its own security system. We agree, but I still believe the United States is not that concerned about Ukraine’s security, though they may think about it on the sidelines. Its main goal is to contain Russia’s development. This is the whole point. In this sense, Ukraine is simply a tool to reach this goal. 

This can be done in different ways: by drawing us into some armed conflict, or compelling its allies in Europe to impose tough sanctions on us like the US is talking about today, or by drawing Ukraine into NATO, deploying attack weapons there and encouraging some Banderites to resolve the issues of Donbass or Crimea by force. In this way, we could be drawn into an armed conflict regardless.

If we take a serious look at these numerous issues, it will become clear that to prevent the situation from taking such a negative turn, and we want to avoid it, it is necessary to thoroughly consider the interests of all countries, including Russia, and find a solution to this problem.

Why did we sign the treaties and related agreements in Istanbul and Astana that say that no country can ensure its own security at the expense of another’s security? We are saying that Ukraine’s accession into NATO will undermine our security, and we are asking our partners to consider this. They talk about an open-door policy. Where did this come from? Or that NATO has an open-door policy. Where does it say so? Nowhere. If my memory does not fail me, Article 10 of the 1949 NATO Treaty reads that the Parties may, by unanimous agreement, accept any other European State to the treaty. So, they can do this, but are not required to.

After all, the United States and NATO can tell Ukraine, and others: we want to ensure your security, we value it and respect your aspirations, but we cannot accept you because we have other international commitments that we adopted earlier. What is unclear or even offensive for Ukraine in this explanation?

We need to find a way to ensure the interests and security of all parties to this process: Ukraine, the other European countries and Russia. But this can only be done if the documents we proposed undergo a serious, thoughtful analysis.

I hope this process will be continued. I also agreed with the President of France yesterday that he can come to Moscow in the near future to discuss these problems as well. 

I hope we will eventually find a solution, although we realize it is not simple. But, of course, I am not yet ready to talk today about what it will be. 

Thank you.”

Orban’s comment on this issue was as folows:

“The situation is complicated and the differences are substantial. The whole world should know what Russia wants. Obviously, the responses given to these apprehensions, that is, Russia’s security needs, and NATO’s response to them are very far from each other at this point. Even though it is a great distance, it cannot be called insurmountable. I was convinced today that these differences can be overcome and it is possible to reach agreements that will guarantee peace and security for Russia and that will be acceptable to the NATO member states as well. So, such an agreement is possible, and I am hoping that the talks will lead to this in the coming days and weeks.”