Hungary prepares as situation in Ukraine continues to escalate

March 17, 2014

MSZP parliamentarian Zsolt Molnar
MSZP parliamentarian Zsolt Molnar

Hungary’s national security agencies are preparing for the ever-escalating situation in Ukraine, on military and civilian levels. MP Zsolt Molnár, chairman of the National Security Committee and president of the MSZP Budapest Regional Alliance, said it is agreed that civil war is a possibility but all must be done to avoid armed conflict and maintain the peace. About 200,000 people of Hungarian origin live in Ukraine.

Reluctant at first, Hungary has now firmly taken its stance on the conflict, staying true to the principles of the European Union and NATO, to both of which it belongs.

Russia’s defence ministry confirmed that military exercises began on Wednesday, involving 8000 troops and artillery such as rocket launchers and anti-tank weapons. Fighter jets have also been deployed by Moscow near the Ukrainian border, Belarus confirmed, after NATO upped its forces in Baltic countries, and the United States sent fighters to Poland and the Baltic region.

Emergency meetings are growing in frequency, with EU foreign ministers set to meet on Monday to discuss the specifics of sanctions against Russia. A weapons embargo and asset freezes are among measures already being discussed.

The West suspects that the Crimea referendum on Sunday, to vote on leaving Ukraine and joining Russia, was arranged with Russian interference. Kiev and its Western allies maintain that Russia has violated the United Nations Charter, and have affirmed that the referendum will not be recognized. As the March 16 date approaches, tensions are heightening.

Referenced articles:

Fokozódik az ukrán helyzet a nemzetbiztonsági bizottság szerint, Hvg.hu; 13 March 2014

Orosz vadászgépek települtek az ukrán határ közelébe, Hvg.hu; 13 March 2014

Ukraine crisis: Russia tells UN it does not want war, BBC.com; 13 March 2014