Hungary’s prime minister Viktor Orban has criticised Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky in his victory speech, after winning a fourth consecutive term in a the country’s general election.
In his speech, Mr Orban referred to Mr Zelensky and Brussels bureaucrats as the “opponents” he had to defeat during campaigning.
With 91 per cent of the votes counted, Mr Orban’s Fidesz-led coalition had won 53 per cent of the votes, while the opposition coalition, United for Hungary, led by Peter Marki-Zay, had just over 34 per cent.
This was Hungary’s tightest election since Mr Orban took power in 2010, after six opposition parties united under one against the ruling party. Despite that, he was jubilant at the size of his latest election triumph.
“This was a huge victory,” Mr Orban told his supporters in Budapest, late on Sunday. “They can see it from the moon, but certainly from Brussels as well.
“We will remember this victory until the end of our lives because we had to fight against a huge amount of opponents.”
In addition to Mr Zelensky and Brussels bureaucrats, Mr Orban also cited the international media among his list of opponents. “We never had so many opponents at the same time,” he added.
As Hungary continues to rely on Russian energy, Mr Orban is the only EU leader to openly criticise Mr Zelensky, which has prevented the EU from presenting a united front against Russia.
Mr Orban already has a strained relationship with the EU, which believes that his party has undermined Hungary’s democratic institutions.
During his 12 years in power, Mr Orban has rewritten the constitution, filled the top courts with his appointees, and changed the electoral system for his benefit. He also pushed legislation targeting migrants and the LGBT+ community.
Mr Zelensky has been a critic of Mr Orban’s policies and called out the leader for Hungary’s lack of support and refusal to supply the nation with weapons.
“Lithuania stands for us. Latvia stands for us. Estonia stands for us. Poland stands for us. France – Emmanuel [Macron], I really believe that you will stand for us,” Mr Zelensky told the EU in March.
“Hungary…I want to stop here and be honest. Once and for all,” he continued. “You have to decide for yourself who you are with. Listen Viktor, do you know what’s going on in Mariupol?” Mr Zelensky was referring to the besieged port city which has been profusely destroyed by Russian forces.
Sharing a border with Ukraine, Hungary has taken in more than half a million refugees so far. Mr Orban continues to insist that he is keeping Hungary out of the war by only helping the people and not supplying weapons to Ukraine.
He has condemned the Russian invasion, and has not vetoed the EU’s sanctions against Russia but has refused to go any further.
Join our commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies