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Hungary 'Reconsidering' NATO Membership to Avoid Non-Alliance Operations

Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orban has stated that his country is working on “reconsidering” its NATO membership status to potentially avoid participation in future operations outside of the Alliance and to enhance support for Ukraine from NATO, as reported by Bloomberg.

“Our lawyers and officers are hard at work to see how Hungary can maintain its NATO membership in a way that it wouldn’t have to take part in NATO actions outside of NATO territory,” Orban said.

Hungarian troops are currently contributing to two Alliance missions outside NATO territory — in Iraq and Kosovo. NATO members also have the option to opt out of participating in any military missions.

Orban’s statement comes as the Alliance is developing a support package for Ukraine, which will be presented at the summit of member countries' leaders in Washington in July.

The head of the Hungarian government said that his country fundamentally disagrees with the assessment of some NATO members that Russia will invade the Alliance’s eastern flank after Ukraine, as he believes the current war should be seen as a war between “two Slavic countries”.

According to Orban, NATO does not share this view and has created working groups to study the potentially expanded role of the military alliance in the Russian-Ukrainian war.

Hungary, as a NATO member, is taking part in these discussions, Orban said, but essentially as a “non-participant” opposing the provision of money and weapons to Ukraine. He mentioned that granting Hungary a formal exemption would represent a “new concept of NATO membership”.

“Right now, we’re sort of in-between,” Orban said. “I don’t know how long this can go on,” he added.

Orban has repeatedly stated in the past that neither Ukraine nor Russia is capable of winning the war, and has also argued that without Western support, Ukraine will not survive.

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