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In Speech to E.U., Zelensky Singles Out Hungary Over Sanctions

In Speech to EU Zelensky Singles Out Hungary Over Sanctions


BRUSSELS — In another impassioned speech to European Union leaders, President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine called on Hungary to make clear whether it supported Russia or Ukraine in the growing battle over its neighbor.

The leader, who was patched in via video link from his embattled capital, spoke to the 27 European leaders on Thursday. The speech, a copy of which was released Friday, came soon after President Biden left that meeting and was yet another attempt by Mr. Zelensky to maintain momentum among his allies.

“Lithuania stands for us. Latvia stands for us. Estonia stands for us. Poland stands for us. France — Emmanuel, I really believe that you will stand for us,” he said, referring to French President Emmanuel Macron.

“Germany … a little later,” he added.

But he stopped at Hungary, whose leader, Viktor Orban, faces an election next month and has been caught between his apparent support for Western allies’ positions on sanctions and his close links to Russia and President Vladimir V. Putin.

“Hungary … I want to stop here and be honest. Once and for all. You have to decide for yourself who you are with,” Mr. Zelensky said.

Then, he became personal. “Listen, Viktor, do you know what’s going on in Mariupol?” he said, addressing Mr. Orban directly and referencing the embattled eastern Ukrainian city where brutal Russian attacks have killed hundreds and a blockade has forced residents to flee or hide, often without food or water.

Hungary has resisted some sanctions, especially against Russian energy, but it has not been alone. Germany and other countries are resisting such a move on the grounds that it would hurt European economies disproportionately.

In a video posted to social media on Friday morning, Mr. Orban rejected supporting sanctions on Russian energy.

Given Hungary’s dependence on Russian energy, the prime minister said, “sanctions would mean Hungary’s economy would quickly slow down and stop.”

“This is unacceptable. It is contrary to the interests of Hungarians.” Mr. Orban said.

Benjamin Novak contributed reporting.



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