Trump will not give a penny to Ukraine - Hungary PM Orban

March 12, 2024 1:00 pm

[Source: BBC]

Donald Trump will not fund Ukraine’s fight against Russia’s invasion if he is elected US president again, Hungarian PM Viktor Orban has said.

“He will not give a penny in the Ukraine-Russia war. That is why the war will end,” the conservative premier said after meeting Mr Trump in Florida.

The former US president has pledged to end the war “within 24 hours” if elected – but provided no details.

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Mr Orban openly backed his long-term ally in the 2024 White House race.

Is Europe doing enough to help Ukraine?

“Ukraine cannot stand on its own feet,” Mr Orban told Hungary’s M1 TV channel late on Sunday.

“If the Americans don’t give money and weapons, along with the Europeans, then the war is over. And if the Americans don’t give money, the Europeans alone are unable to finance this war. And then the war is over.”

He added that Mr Trump had “pretty detailed plans” on how to end the Russia-Ukraine war – but did not elaborate. The BBC has asked the Trump campaign for comment.

As president, Mr Trump would have to sign off on spending bills that come from Congress. He has in the past expressed scepticism that the US should go on funding Ukraine’s defence.

At their Friday meeting in Mr Trump’s Mar-a-Lago mansion, the former US president praised his guest.

“There’s nobody better, smarter, or a better leader than Viktor Orban. He’s fantastic,” he said.

During his US visit, Mr Orban did not meet current US President Joe Biden, who is expected to be Mr Trump’s main rival in the presidential elections in November.

It is highly unusual for a visiting foreign leader to schedule talks with former counterparts without calling on the current leadership.

The Hungarian prime minister has repeatedly drawn strong criticism from fellow EU leaders for maintaining close ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin, ever since he launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022.

Unlike many other Western nations, Mr Orban refuses to send weapons to its neighbour Ukraine, stating repeatedly that Kyiv is unable to win against a nuclear-armed Russia.

EU leaders are increasingly concerned that a second Trump presidency would see a significant reduction in US military and financial aid to Ukraine and also the NATO military alliance.

A $95bn (£75bn) foreign aid bill – including $60bn in military assistance to Ukraine – has been stalled in US Congress because of Republican opposition.

The Republicans – openly encouraged by Mr Trump – say they will not allow the bill to clear the final hurdle in the House of Representatives without first agreeing on additional funding for US border security.

At a rally last month he told supporters the cash should be loaned rather than given without strings.

“They want to give them $60 billion more. Do it this way. Loan them the money. If they can make it, they pay us back.”

Russian forces have recently made gains in eastern Ukraine, as Kyiv experiences acute shortages in ammunition.

Ukraine is critically dependent on weapons from the US, the main supplier, and other Western allies to keep fighting Russia – a much bigger military force with an abundance of artillery ammunition.