The Hungarian embassy in Kyiv said it was “outraged” by a top Ukrainian security official’s allegation that Budapest was warned by Russia in advance about its plans to go to war.
The statement by Oleksiy Danilov, head of the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC), “contains accusations that are false and unfounded, and incite hatred against the Hungarian people and Hungary in Ukrainian public opinion, which is suffering from war,” the embassy said on Tuesday afternoon. “We strongly reject and condemn the slander that has been made against Hungary … We also urge Mr. Danilov to withdraw his statements.”
On Monday, Danilov said in a televised interview that Hungary — which “openly declares its cooperation with Russia” — was warned in advance by Russian President Vladimir Putin “that there would be an attack on our country.”
He added that the Kremlin believed Hungary “could take part of its territory” back, an apparent reference to Ukraine’s Transcarpathia region, which was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire prior to World War I and part of Hungary on the eve of World War II.
Around 150,000 ethnic Hungarians lived in Ukraine before Russia’s invasion.
The Hungarian embassy said it “expects explanations” from the Ukrainian leadership on how “they imagine the formation of our bilateral and good neighborly relations in the future,” given the fact that Danilov’s remarks were “not the first time that some representatives of the Ukrainian leadership have spoken in this way about Hungary … which has repeatedly proved its support and solidarity with Ukraine.”
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has condemned Moscow’s invasion but has refrained from criticizing Putin directly. Budapest has also opposed EU sanctions that would make Russian oil and gas shipments to Hungary impossible.
Sweden and Finland have formally submitted their applications to join Nato, in one of the biggest geopolitical consequences to date of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.