Hungary Blocks Aid for Ukraine

( – Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban vetoed European Union aid to Ukraine following membership talks to add Ukraine to the EU. Orban also opposed bringing Ukraine in as a member of the EU but did not veto that measure. Hungary was the only member of the 27-state EU to veto aid.

The aid amounted to $55 billion spread over 4 years and represents a significant sum to help Ukraine continue the war with Russia, paying civil servants, and funding the ongoing battle. At the same time, United States President Joe Biden is also struggling to pass his own $60 billion Ukraine aid package, which is currently in negotiations in the U.S. Congress.

The U.S. has already sent over $74 billion in aid to Ukraine, most of it in the form of military aid.

Russian President Vladimir Putin praised Orban and suggested that aid from the West is starting to dry up. Hungary has a long history of friendly relations with Russia, but Orban claims his goal is to unlock over $22 billion worth of Hungarian funds frozen by the EU, using the Ukraine veto as a bargaining chip.

Orban is able to veto this type of aid since it requires unanimous support according to EU rules. The Hungarian Prime Minister says he still has many opportunities to stymy attempts to officially make Ukraine a member of the EU, saying it’s a “very, very long process” with upwards of 75 steps that can be interrupted.

Other EU members are still optimistic that they’ll be able to grant aid to Ukraine, with or without Hungary’s approval. French President Emmanuel Macron suggested that the EU could revisit the aid next year, and resume negotiations to move forward.

Ukraine and Moldova both applied for EU membership following the start of the war with Russia. Moldovan President Maia Sandu suggested that EU membership would be a way to guarantee that Ukraine and Moldova “stay part of the free world.”

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