Prime Minister Viktor Orbán told the “Tusványos” Summer University in Băile Tușnad (Tusnádfürdő), Romania, that Russia had made it clear that it wanted it guaranteed that Ukraine would never join NATO, insisting that the war would not have broken out “if Donald Trump were the US president and Angela Merkel the German chancellor”. He said the West’s strategy had been based on the belief that Ukraine could win the war with “Anglo-Saxon training and weapons, that Western sanctions would destabilise the leadership in Moscow and that the West would be capable of managing the impact of the sanctions and enjoy the backing of the rest of the world”. “But the opposite is happening right now,” he said. “We’re sitting in a car with a puncture on all four tyres,” he said, adding that when it came to the war, Europe needed a new strategy that aims not to win the war but to formulate “a good peace offer”. “War is a game of strength, and those who are stronger get to decide,” Orbán said. “It’s not worth cherishing the illusion that Hungary can influence the war and western strategy with excellent advice; but in every debate we must try to voice our standpoint and convince the West to develop a new strategy,” he said.
“It’s not the European Union’s job right now to stand either on the side of the Ukrainians or the Russians, but to stand between Ukraine and Russia,” he said. “What’s happening right now will only serve to prolong the war,” Orbán said. Russia wants to advance far enough west so that Ukraine cannot strike Russian territory, he said, arguing that the better weapons Ukraine gets, the longer the war could go on.
The prime minister said that peace would depend on negotiations between Russia and the US. Europe “played its hand” in attempting to influence the events in 2014, when the Minsk accords were brokered without the US, and then were not enforced. “So, the Russians don’t want to talk to us anymore but to those who can get Ukraine to comply with the agreement,” he said.