The West should give Russia security guarantees and ban Ukraine from joining NATO, a senior Hungarian minister said on Sunday in remarks that could further strain already strained relations between Budapest and Kyiv. .

To ensure a lasting peace, “the Western world supporting Ukraine must give security guarantees to Russia, but certainly not to the Ukrainians NATO membership”, said Gergely Gulyás, minister in charge of the Prime Minister’s Office. minister, at a university event.

The remarks echo Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s comments last week that the West “should reach an agreement with the Russians on the new security architecture to ensure Ukraine’s security and sovereignty, but not its NATO membership. He also said that Ukraine had no chance of winning the war. In June, Orbán said that kyiv was “no longer a sovereign state” and financially “non-existent”, sparking fury from Ukraine.

“Ukraine is not trading territories or sovereignty,” Oleh Nikolenko, spokesman for Kyiv’s foreign ministry, said in response to Orbán’s latest comments.

Repeated calls to give Moscow security guarantees are likely to further inflame tensions between Hungary and Ukraine.

Last week, EU foreign ministers were unable to give the go-ahead for an eighth tranche of military aid to Ukraine worth €500 million after the Hungary blocked the disbursement of the funds on the grounds that Kiev had appointed the OTP Bank of Budapest as an international sponsor of the war.

Yet in a sign that Hungary wants to avoid a total breakdown in relations, Hungarian President Katalin Novák last month visited Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in a bid to improve bilateral relations.

Since 2018, Hungary has prevented Ukraine from participating in NATO ministerial meetings due to allegations that Kyiv discriminates against ethnic Hungarian minorities by limiting their rights to education in their mother tongue. .

Meanwhile, Hungarian lawmakers continue to delay Sweden’s ratification of NATO membership. While admitting that the military alliance would become stronger if Sweden joined, Gulyás said on Sunday that Budapest first wanted clarification from Stockholm on previous comments in which it “accused our country of accusations unworthy and baseless”.

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