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Orban suggests maintaining economic relations with Russia in annual speech
On Saturday, Hungary's prime minister, Viktor Orban gave his annual speech on the state of the nation in which he highlighted the importance of maintaining economic relations with Russia. "We will maintain economic relations with Russia, and we suggest the same to our allies because, without relations, there will not be a ceasefire nor peace talks," Orban said. The Hungarian PM expressed that he does not consider Russia a threat to Hungary''s society.
He spoke at great length on the war in Ukraine. "A year ago the West decided not to isolate the conflict, but to elevate it to a pan-European level. It could have declared it a local, a regional war, or a military conflict between two Slavic states. This is their war, not ours, ”the nationalist leader said. Orban who is currently serving his fourth consecutive term, stated that Europe is "already indirectly at war with Russia."
Similarly to previous years Orbal also touched on topics such as the LGBT+ community.“This is Hungary, and this is where the strictest child protection system in Europe must be," he said, referring to Hungary's controversial LGBT law that is banning gay people from featuring in school educational materials or television shows for under 18-year-olds.
Sean Penn: The Hungarian position is the same as the Russian, Orbán is just repeating Putin
Hollywood actor Sean Penn gave an interview with the Hungarian daily Nepszava where he criticized Viktor Orban's friendliness towards Russia. "The Hungarian position is the same as the Russian, Orban is just repeating it."
Penn was interviewed for his new documentary on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Superpower. The actor and director said he wants the movie to be screened in Hungary and even in Russia because "more and more people in these countries must understand what's at stake and why the war is happening in Ukraine."
Penn said the truth is on the side of the Ukrainians, and that's what he wanted to show. The actor-director also talked about how affected he was by the courage of the Ukrainian soldiers and civilians. He said he hasn't felt such patriotism in a long time.
EU foreign ministers send supporting video message to Ukraine - with the exception of Szijjarto
Peter Sztaray, Secretary of State for Security Policy at the Foreign Ministry represented Hungary in a joint video where EU foreign ministers expressed their support for Ukraine on the anniversary of the Russian invasion.
One year ago, Russia unleashed a brutal aggression against #Ukraine. Thinking it can invade its peaceful neighbour. But it failed.— Josep Borrell Fontelles (@JosepBorrellF) February 20, 2023
The EU stands in support of #Ukraine. Our commitment to the European future of Ukraine remains unwavering.
Our joint message: pic.twitter.com/jM0dpjw6qe
Hungary's foreign minister Peter Szijjarto is the only foreign minister that does not appear in the video. According to Nepszava, Szijjarto was busy in Budapest with other tasks, which is why he sent Sztaray to the EU meeting instead of himself.
Hungary becomes the only EU shareholder in the Russian spy bank
Bulgaria has formally notified the International Investment Bank of its upcoming withdrawal which makes Hungary the only European shareholder in the bank from August 15. Slovakia and the Czech Republic left the bank earlier and Romania will follow the move. The Russian bank is often referred to as Putin's "spy bank" or "trojan horse" by its critics because it is seen as an arm of Russia's secret service.
With over a quarter of the shares (17.37%), Hungary is currently the second biggest shareholder after Russia. Apart from other European countries, Cuba, Mongolia, and Vietnam also own less than 3 percent of the shares. Last year, when Orban's chief of staff, Gergely Gulyas was asked if Hungary is also planning on withdrawing from the financial institution he said "We do not want to withdraw, the question is whether there will be other options, but that is an economic question.”