Following the missile incident in the Polish town of Przewodów, a settlement close to the Ukrainian border, the Hungarian Defence Council convened on Tuesday night, and Prime Minister Viktor Orbán scheduled a government meeting for the following morning ‘to evaluate the latest events in the Russian-Ukrainian war.’ On Wednesday, Gergely Gulyás, the Minister heading the Prime Minister’s Office held a press briefing, discussing a number of significant topics.
Russia is to Blame for the War, But Zelensky Acted Irresponsibly
The missile strike that hit in Poland was the first subject that the minister tackled. According to the minister, all available information suggests that it may have been a stray Ukrainian anti-aircraft missile that hit Przewodów. ‘The missile incident has made it clear that it is of paramount importance that ceasefire be implemented and peace talks commence as soon as possible, the minister underscored.
He also stated that the Hungarian Defence Council is in continuous communication with NATO officials and allies, including Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and the Prime Minister of Poland, and that the Hungarian government views the core principles of NATO as binding.
‘If there had not been a conflict, there would not have been a missile strike in Poland; only Russia is responsible for the war,’ the minister declared. Responding to a question, he added that, however, the Ukrainian president did not act responsibly when he immediately accused the Russians of something they had not done.
He highlighted that Ukraine is a country that has been attacked, so Hungary shows solidarity with them. ‘It is not easy to raise this issue when one if fighting for their life, but it is important to note that the treatment by Ukraine of the ethnic minorities living in its territory is far from the practice in other countries where the rights of minority communities are recognized,’ he added.
Citing security reasons, Gulyás did not disclose information about when or who will be making an official state visit to Ukraine but confirmed that a visit is being planned.
Pro-Russia Narratives in the Hungarian Press
Reacting to queries, Gulyás said the Hungarian government has no control over what government-affiliated media channels publish, so if pro-Russian narratives appear in those media, it is not something the government can influence. ‘Journalists do not consult with me before publishing their reports, since the press is free in Hungary,’ he nailed down. He remarked that it is wrong to view the world through narratives, stressing that ‘If anyone writes that Ukraine has attacked Russia, that’s nonsense.’ Gulyás stated that the government has no opinion as to the state of the Hungarian press in response to a question about whether or not the government is happy with the situation. Although the media is freer than in other countries, he personally is not happy with the harsh language used by some journalists, the minister added.
Fuel Prices and the New Ministry
The goal of the fuel price freeze, according to Gulyás, was to assist families, and that goal has been achieved. The fact that Hungarian families pay the least for fuel in all of Europe, which has also lowered inflation, is a notable success. The price cap has been phased out in the case of company vehicles but doing so for the larger population would be difficult, so price caps for the time being will remain in place.
Gulyás also commented on the resignation of former Minister of Technology László Palkovics and the establishment of the new Energy Affairs Ministry. The minister explained that a structural reorganization within the government was required to increase focus on one of the most crucial sectors, energy policy. Mr Palkovics did not wish to continue to head the ministry with a reduced mandate, Gulyás said.