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Ukraine echos

March 4th, 2014

Left-wing commentators view the gaping rift between Russia and the West over Ukraine with apprehension. Népszabadság refrains from criticising the cautious stance adopted by the government, while Népszava suspects that the government’s attitude may be influenced by the recently concluded credit-line agreement to finance the two new nuclear power stations Russia’s Rossatom will build in Hungary.In Népszava, Attila Seres urges PM Orbán to join the chorus of international leaders who have condemned the infringement on Ukrainian sovereignty by Russian armed units. “Of course it would be difficult to say anything in the wake of a nuclear deal concluded behind the scenes”, he remarks. Seres approves the decision to send Foreign Minister Martonyi to Ukraine and to set up an “operative staff” to meet potential cross-border emergencies, but believes the Hungarian government should tell the world that however important ties with Russia are, no amount of money can induce Hungary to abandon its democratic principles.

On his return from Ukraine, Foreign Minister János Martonyi said Hungary regarded the recent Russian moves as a breach of international law. Meanwhile, PM Orbán also made a short statement on the situation in Ukraine. He said Hungary was not part of the crisis and was involved with fellow EU member countries in concerted diplomatic efforts aimed at finding a solution.

In its front page editorial, Népszabadság fears that the recent developments are harbingers of a lasting standoff between Russia and the West. The authors believe that the West is a helpless onlooker and NATO will not send troops to defend Ukraine. Russia is too important as a partner and as a market to be regarded suddenly as a pariah. Népszabadság admits that the new Ukrainian leadership provided “excellent excuses” for Russia to show how brutally it is prone to act, in order to enforce its will and interests.

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