Zelensky urges Hungary’s Orban to ‘decide who you are with’ over Ukraine war

‘Listen, Viktor, do you know what’s going on in Mariupol?’

Tom Batchelor
Friday 25 March 2022 23:39 GMT
Zelensky calls out Hungary for lack of support: 'You have to decide for yourself who you are with'

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has singled out Hungary’s Viktor Orban for an apparent lack of support for the embattled country which is facing a brutal onslaught by Russian forces, urging him to choose which side he is on after the EU nation declined to supply its neighbour with weapons.

Mr Zelensky was speaking via video-link to EU leaders on Friday, thanking many of them for working together to support Ukraine and impose sanctions on Russia.

“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,” he said.

But he then expressed concern at a handful of countries for moving too slowly.

“Germany … a little later,” he said, adding that Ukraine was certain that "in the decisive moment, Germany also will be with us”.

He then stopped at Hungary, whose president is widely considered to be Vladimir Putin's closest ally among EU leaders.

“Hungary … I want to stop here and be honest,” Mr Zelensky said. “Once and for all. You have to decide for yourself who you are with.

“Listen, Viktor, do you know what’s going on in Mariupol?” he said, referring to the besieged southern port city, swathes of which have been pummelled to destruction.

Ukraine’s president was speaking via video-link to EU leaders on Friday

Later in his speech, Mr Zelensky appealed to EU leaders, who had gathered Thursday in Brussels, to move quickly on Ukraine's application to join the bloc. He appealed particularly to Hungary not to block Ukraine's bid.

"Here I ask you, do not delay. Please," Mr Zelensky said by video from Kyiv. "For us this is a chance."

Hungary, alone among EU countries bordering Ukraine, has declined to supply its neighbour with weapons and refused to allow weapons shipments to cross its border into Ukraine.

This map shows the extent of the Russian invasion of Ukraine

Despite the appeal for help, Mr Orban said in a video posted to social media that Mr Zelensky's requests were "against Hungary's interests”.

He said 85 per cent of Hungary's gas and more than 60 per cent of its oil comes from Russia, and that blocking Russian energy exports would force Hungarians to "pay the price of the war”.

The Independent has a proud history of campaigning for the rights of the most vulnerable, and we first ran our Refugees Welcome campaign during the war in Syria in 2015. Now, as we renew our campaign and launch this petition in the wake of the unfolding Ukrainian crisis, we are calling on the government to go further and faster to ensure help is delivered. To find out more about our Refugees Welcome campaign, click here. To sign the petition click here. If you would like to donate then please click here for our GoFundMe page

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in