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Poland’s ruling party head criticises Hungary over Ukraine

Deputy Prime Minister Jarosław Kaczyński, leader of Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party (PiS), has criticised his country’s long-time ally Hungary for its stance toward Russia’s war on Ukraine.

The Hungarian government, which has cultivated a close relationship with the Kremlin over the past decade, has condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and agreed to European sanctions.

But Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, while preparing for a tough parliamentary election on April 3, has said that his country must “stay out” of the conflict. He has announced that Hungary will not allow the transit of weapons to Ukraine through its territory and that his country is against possible sanctions on Russia that would cover imports of its oil and natural gas.

“We observe Hungary’s attitude critically, we count on their greater commitment,” Kaczyński said in an interview for “Sieci” weekly.

Asked whether the indifference shown by Orban towards the war undermines Polish-Hungarian relations, Kaczyński said that the issue should be looked at without emotions.

“Hungary has supported all sanctions proposed so far and condemned the Russian aggression. They are opposed to the ban on oil imports from Russia, but unfortunately, Germany and several other important EU countries share the same attitude,” he said.

Kaczyński admitted that the conditions of the Hungarian economy differ from those in Poland, pointing to Hungary’s “deep dependence on Russia in many areas, which goes back to the times of post-communist Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany.”

According to him, the difference in the positions of Poland and Hungary towards Russia in its war on Ukraine “does not mean, however, that we should stop cooperating in areas that are possible.”

“There are differences, but we are dealing with a partner who has never concealed his position, has not cheated. In other areas of cooperation, for example in the EU, he has never let us down,” Kaczyński explained.

The European Commission has been running infringement procedures against both Warsaw and Budapest over their justice reforms. The two capitals have been at odds with Brussels over a range of other issues, including LGBTQ and women’s rights, and so far have supported each other in the conflict with the EU.

On the note that the Hungarian opposition claims that the Visegrad Group, the regional cooperation format that Poland and Hungary are members of together with the Czech Republic and Slovakia, is dead and that Poland has severed its relations with Hungary, Kaczynski replied: “We do not cut out our relationship with Hungary by any means.”

He added that Polish Prime Minister Morawiecki had agreed with Orban and other partners on a several-week suspension of the work of the Visegrad Group.

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