‘Good friend’ Trump will not ‘give a penny to Ukraine’, says Hungary PM Orban

Orban says it ‘is obvious that Ukraine on its own cannot stand on its feet’

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar
Tuesday 12 March 2024 09:28 GMT
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Related: Zelensky warns Ukraine will not exist if Russia wins war

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Donald Trump will not provide monetary aid to Ukraine to fight the Russian invasion if he wins the presidency for the second time, Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban said.

Mr Orban, who has openly backed his "good friend", suggested that Mr Trump's move would hasten an end to the two-year-long war in Europe.

Since Russia's February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, president Joe Biden has sent more than $75bn (£58.6bn) in cash and equipment to Kyiv or its defence. A $95bn (£74.2bn) emergency foreign aid bill for providing funds to Ukraine, Israel, and other allies of America, was stalled in Congress due to Republican opposition.

Mr Trump, who according to the latest opinion polls holds a narrow lead over the Democratic president, had suggested loaning money to the war-ravaged country instead.

"He [Donald Trump] will not give a penny into the Ukraine-Russia war and therefore the war will end," Mr Orban told state television late M1 TV on Sunday after meeting Mr Trump at his Mar-a-Lago home in Florida.

"As it is obvious that Ukraine on its own cannot stand on its feet."

Mr Orban is the only European leader to have refused to send weapons to Kyiv and maintained economic ties with Moscow despite facing backlash from the other members of the EU after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

"If the Americans do not give money and weapons, and also the Europeans, then this war will be over. And if the Americans do not give money the Europeans are unable to finance this war on their own, and then the war will end," the Hungarian leader added.

A statement from Mr Trump's campaign did not mention Ukraine, saying the pair discussed issues affecting both nations including their respective border security.

Mr Trump on Monday described Mr Orban as a "tough man", saying the Hungarian leader believed Russia would not have invaded Ukraine had the Republican leader been the president in 2022.

"All of those dead people in blown-up cities because Ukraine is now just like a demolition site, what they've done to Ukraine – none of that would have happened," he told CNBC.

Mr Trump, during his election campaign, argued that the US should loan money to Ukraine and not just "hand it over" to Kyiv as military assistance. "Loan them the money. If they can make it, they pay us back. If they can’t make it, they don’t have to pay us back," he said at a rally in South Carolina.

Mr Biden reiterated his criticism of his election rival for meeting Mr Orban after the president’s campaign alleged the Hungarian leader had "rigged his political system to keep himself in power”.

"He was with Viktor Orban, who talked about democracy being the problem, and telling how much he understood and agreed with him. Come on. I mean, this is not who we are," Mr Biden told a campaign event Monday in New Hampshire.

A Wall Street Journal poll conducted earlier this month found Mr Trump and Mr Biden were headed for a neck-and-neck contest, with 47 per cent backing the Republican leader and 45 per cent siding with Mr Biden.

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