Putin is not a war criminal, Hungarian PM says

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Orban says he does not consider Putin to be a war criminal

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s handling of a rebellion shows he remains firmly in control, Hungarian PM Viktor Orban told Axel Springer (Bild) in a rare interview. “When it is managed in 24 hours, it’s a signal of being strong,” Orban added.  

The Hungarian nationalist leader was referring to the Wagner paramilitary group’s recent rebellion, but he says he did not “see any major importance to that event."  Orban, who has been criticized for his close ties with Putin said, “Russia operates differently than we do. But the structures in Russia are very stable. It’s based on the army, secret service, and police. It’s a military-oriented, minded country.”

During the same interview, the Hungarian PM was asked if he considers Putin to be a war criminal. "Not to me," Orban replied, explaining that war crimes can only be discussed after the war. "The war has to end first, and you can't invite someone to an agreement by saying, come to the negotiating table, and we will arrest you."

Hungary could become a European hub for Chinese chemicals, investigation reveals

China would transport a significant part of its chemical production destined for Europe by rail to Hungary, investigative site, Direkt36 writes. China plans to supply  Europe's battery factories and other industrial plants from Hungarian chemical trade hubs and the Hungarian government is backing these plans, internal government documents obtained by the investigative outlet reveal.

The decision to set up the chemical hubs in Hungary was made in March. A formal agreement is due to be signed in China in September 2023. Within the Hungarian government, the project is being handled by the Prime Minister’s Cabinet Office, led by Antal Rogán. According to Direkt36, a company linked to Rogan's inner circle has ties to the project.

Pew Research Center: Majority of Hungarians do not trust the US, especially Biden

The Hungarian government's anti-American campaign seems to have paid off, with the majority of Hungarians having a negative view of the United States, according to a survey by Pew Research Center. The survey, conducted in 23 countries, found that while people in other countries were mainly sympathetic to the US, in Hungary, the opposite applies.

The survey found that respondents consistently ranked the United States as the world's leading economic power, and valued the American entertainment industry, military, and science. The survey polled 27,285 people between February 20 and May 22.

According to the survey the majority of people surveyed trust the United States and tend to have a positive opinion of it. Of the twenty-three countries, Hungary was the only one to give a more negative response: While 62% of Hungarian respondents had a favorable opinion of the US in 2016 and 66% in 2019, only 44% of Hungarians said the same this spring. In contrast, the share of unfavorable opinions rose from 32 to 51 percent. The survey added that Fidesz voters in Hungary have a negative view of the US.

"America's global perception has often been shaped by its actions in world politics, and the survey highlights that public opinion on U.S. foreign policy is complex," Pew Research writes.

The most positive views of the United States were measured in Poland and Israel. Strikingly, at the two ends of the scale are Poland and Hungary, with the contrast between the two friendly states being particularly striking about US President Joe Biden's perception of the US. While 83 percent of Poles trust the US president, only 19 percent of Hungarians do the same.

Hungary postpones vote on Sweden’s NATO accession

Hungary’s parliament postponed ratifying Sweden’s NATO accession bid to its fall legislative session, AP reports.

According to the Hungarian weekly HVG, there will be parliamentary sessions on Monday, Tuesday, and Friday, based on the proposal prepared for Thursday's House committee meeting. 

However, the ratification of Sweden's accession to NATO is not on the agenda after a year's delay, the vote will be postponed until the fall session. Fidesz has kept a close eye on Turkey regarding Finnish and Swedish NATO membership in the past, and this time it should be no different. Turkish President Erdogan announced this week that he still does not support Swedish membership of NATO.