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Hungary denies claims it was warned about Russia’s invasion plans

Vladimir_Putin_and_Viktor_Orbán_(2017-08-28)_03

Budapest, Hungary – Hungarian authorities vigorously denied claims they were warned in advance by Russia about its intention to invade Ukraine.

On Monday, the head of the Ukrainian National Security and Defence Council (NSDC) Oleksiy Danilov said that Russian President Vladimir Putin had warned Budapest “that there would be an attack on our country.”

Danilov added that Russia believed Hungary “could take part of its territory” back, in reference to the west Ukrainian region of Transcarpathia, which used to be part of Hungary and home to approximately 150,000 ethnic Hungarians.

The Hungarian embassy in Kyiv said it was “outraged” by the allegations and demanded explanations from the Ukrainian government.

Danilov’s claim was “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,” the embassy said in a statement.

On Twitter, Hungarian secretary of state for international communication and relations Zoltán Kovács dismissed the accusations as “fake news”

Russia’s closest ally in the EU, Hungary has so far refused to break away from the Kremlin in the wake of the Ukraine invasion.

Although Hungary has condemned Russia’s aggression against its neighbour, Budapest’s main response has been to keep its distance from the conflict in an attempt to remain as neutral as possible, refusing to deliver weapons to Kyiv, blocking military shipments from transiting through its territory and threatening to veto EU sanctions targeting Russian oil and gas imports.

Increasingly at odds with EU and NATO partners over its lukewarm stance on the invasion, Orban has also described Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy as his foe after the latter urged him to “pick a side” in the conflict.