We don't need Russia's "approval" to join NATO: Ukraine responds to Hungary
Ukraine's accession to NATO without the risk of starting a direct conflict between the Russian Federation and the alliance is possible "only if Russia approves this in the form of a specific agreement."
The Deputy Speaker of the Parliament of Hungary, Dóra Dúró, claimed this in an interview published by the Russian newspaper Izvestiya on April 24.
She said Russia's full-scale war in Ukraine means "even NATO's own rules preclude Kyiv from joining the alliance." Not securing Russia's approval before allowing Ukraine to join the military alliance would risk escalation.
According to her, Hungary also does not want to see Ukraine in NATO because of the "state" of ethnic Hungarians living in Transcarpathia. Dúró claimed that Ukraine's NATO membership would also embolden the country to continue what she views as the persecution of the country's ethnic Hungarians and other minorities, including ethnic Romanians and Russians.
Oleh Nikolenko, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, responded to her statement, stressing that Ukraine has the sovereign right to choose security measures freely, and there are no objective reasons that would prevent it from joining the alliance.
"We do not need Russia's permission to become a NATO member. At the same time, it is dangerous when individual Hungarian politicians try to make the security of the Euro-Atlantic space dependent on the whims of Moscow," Oleh Nikolenko said.
Dúró, the deputy speaker of the Hungarian parliament, is a member of the far-right political party Our Homeland Movement. This party is known for its nationalistic, homophobic, and xenophobic policies, which harm Hungary's own minority groups.
The Hungarian government, led by the ruling Fidesz Party, has accused the Ukrainian government of oppressing the rights of Hungarian minorities living in western regions of Ukraine near the border between the two countries. However, local Ukrainian officials have dismissed the concerns of Hungarian Deputy Foreign Minister Levente Maygar about minority rights. They have stated that Hungarian and Romanian communities in Zakarpattia Region have the full support of the local government.
In January 2023, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán referred to Ukraine as a "no man's land." In April, he called it "financially non-existent." Despite the ongoing invasion, Hungary has not provided any military aid to Ukraine, has periodically blocked the allocation of EU funds, and opposed anti-Russian sanctions. In November 2022, the Hungarian government decided to provide $195 million in financial aid to Ukraine.