Hungary bans weapons supplies to Ukraine, Latvia requests permanent US troops
Hungary refuses to join the trend of expanding anti-Russian sanctions in the energy sector as this would threaten both the national currency and welfare of Hungarians.
Hungary has prohibited supplying Ukraine with weapons through its territory, but authorized the transit of NATO troops to other alliance states, in addition to deploying them in the Hungarian west, according to Viktor Orban, the Hungarian Prime Minister on Monday.
"At the meeting of the National Security Operations Group... we assessed the situation. A decree was published making it clear that weapons cannot be supplied to Ukraine from Hungary's territory," Orban said in a Facebook video.
The decree issued also authorized the deployment of NATO troops. "The government... in compliance with the decision of the heads and governments of NATO countries... except for the case of transit through Ukraine, authorizes transit of allied armed forces by land and air through the territory of Hungary to another [NATO] member state… and deployment in the Transdanubia region in Hungary, if necessary," the decree read.
Hungary refuses to join new draconian sanctions on Russian energy sector: Finance Minister
Furthermore, Hungary has also announced that it will not be supporting the expansion of sanctions against Russia, particularly in the energy sector since such a move will harm the national currency and the welfare of the population, Hungarian Finance Minister Mihaly Varga said on Monday.
"The Hungarian forint is also a victim of the Brussels sanctions. Sanctions already mean a serious threat to the Hungarian economy. The expansion of sanctions into the energy sector means the biggest threat to the forint and the Hungarian people. Whoever asks for the expansion of sanctions wants to make the Hungarian people pay the price of the war. The Hungarian government will not support such a move in any international fora," Varga said in a Facebook video.
Orban, over the years, had advocated further diplomacy and close cooperation with Russia but has denounced Russia's military operation in Ukraine, backing the European Union.
However, last week, Orban said that Budapest's position to refuse to supply Kiev with weapons remains in effect since the Hungarian armed forces need all their weapons to be able to defend the country's borders.
Latvia wants permanent US military presence
On his part, Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics announced that he has requested from the United States to deploy US troops permanently to Latvia amid the escalating fighting in Ukraine.
The Latvian FM held talks with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on ways to strengthen regional security and defense.
As part of NATO's expansion, the US stations troops in eastern Europe.
"We spoke at length about further strengthening of NATO's eastern flank... We believe that NATO and particularly the US must have a permanent military presence here in the current circumstances," Rinkevics said in a press conference.