Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has expressed his belief that the West’s approach to the Ukraine conflict has failed and calls for the development of a new security architecture in Europe that takes into account both Russian and Ukrainian interests. Speaking at the Organization of Turkic States summit in Astana, Kazakhstan, Orban stated that the strategy of supporting Ukraine with financial aid and weapons has not achieved the desired results, and therefore, a “Plan B” is needed.
Orban’s proposed “Plan B” aims to establish a ceasefire, peace negotiations, and the construction of a new European security architecture that would be reassuring for Ukraine while also acceptable to Russia. He highlighted the role of Turkey, which has remained neutral in the conflict and acted as a mediator between Moscow and Kiev, in this potential arrangement.
Hungary has consistently urged both Ukraine and Russia to engage in talks since the beginning of the open fighting in the conflict. Orban has also resisted calls to support EU sanctions against Russia, particularly in the energy sector, arguing that these measures would harm the EU’s own economy. In May, he expressed skepticism about Ukraine’s ability to prevail over Russia, citing NATO’s reluctance to directly engage in the battlefield.
Additionally, Hungary and Slovakia opposed a €50 billion ($53.5 billion) aid package to Ukraine approved by the European Parliament, citing concerns about corruption in Kiev and doubting the effectiveness of the aid.
While Moscow has expressed willingness to engage in talks with Kiev, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky issued a decree last autumn prohibiting any discussions with Moscow following the overwhelming votes in four former Ukrainian regions to join Russia.
In late 2021, Russia submitted proposals to NATO and the US, demanding security guarantees and the prevention of Ukraine’s accession to the military bloc. However, the West rejected these proposals.
Orban’s call for a new security architecture in Europe aligns with the suggestion made by French President Emmanuel Macron last December. Macron proposed considering the establishment of a security framework that considers Russian interests once talks between Moscow and Kiev commence. However, Macron’s remarks received backlash from Ukraine and several EU member states.
In conclusion, Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban believes that the West’s approach to the Ukraine conflict has failed and advocates for the development of a new European security architecture. This proposed “Plan B” aims to achieve a ceasefire, peace negotiations, and a security arrangement that satisfies both Ukrainian and Russian interests. The involvement of Turkey and discussions about the effectiveness of financial aid to Ukraine add complexity to the ongoing conflict. The proposal aligns with suggestions made by other EU leaders, such as French President Emmanuel Macron, although these ideas have faced criticism in certain quarters.