Austria, Hungary agree not to supply weapons to Ukraine

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Austria and Hungary have agreed not to send military assistance to Ukraine, Austrian Defense Minister Klaudia Tanner and her Hungarian counterpart Kristof Szalay-Bobrovniczky said at a meeting in Budapest on Jan. 30, cited by Euractiv.

According to the top officials, both countries' position regarding Russia's war against Ukraine is "clear" as they don't provide Ukraine with defense assistance "to prevent a further escalation."

Szalay-Bobrovniczky added that Hungary would only supply humanitarian aid to Ukrainian refugees fleeing the war.

President Volodymyr Zelensky said in a video address on Jan. 29 that it is important for Ukraine to continue receiving military support from partners at the same pace as Russia seeks to "prolong the war, exhaust our forces."

Germany, Poland, Spain, the U.S., and the United Kingdom have all publicly pledged to send tanks to Ukraine following Zelensky's months-long requests for more sophisticated weapons to defeat Russia.

Vadym Omelchenko, Ukraine's ambassador to France, said that western countries had pledged a total of 321 heavy tanks to Ukraine so far.

On Jan. 19, nine European nations signed a joint statement known as the Tallinn Pledge, committing to providing Ukraine with the support it needs to liberate all its territory currently occupied by Russia.

In late January, Hungarian Prime Minister Orban said that Ukraine was a no man's land and compared it to Afghanistan. After that, Foreign Ministry summoned Hungary's ambassador to Ukraine.

Polish RMF FM reported on Jan. 19, citing a high-ranking EU diplomatic source, that Budapest had blocked half a billion euros worth of military aid in the seventh such package allocated to Ukraine as part of the European Peace Facility.

In December, Hungary also held up the EU's 18 billion macro-financial assistance package to Ukraine. Media reports alleged that the EU saw it as Budapest's attempt to force the EU to release aid to Hungary, which had been frozen due to the country's insufficient reforms.