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PM Orbán (with three other leaders) fails to applaud Zelensky

February 11th, 2023

A liberal website interprets the scene at the European Council meeting in Brussels as a clear expression of the PM’s refusal to side with Ukraine, while pro-government commentators argue that he was not the only one not to applaud the Ukrainian President.

Two MEPs, liberal Guy Verhofstadt of Belgium and Green Daniel Freund of Germany strongly condemned the Hungarian Prime Minister for failing to clap when Volodymir Zelensky joined the European Summit on Thursday.

In an unsigned reaction, 888 finds it telling that Mr Orbán was singled out by the two MEPs and the liberal press, although Romanian President Klaus Johannis also refrained from clapping. Nor did Chancellor Karl Nehammer of Austria or President Rumen Radev of Bulgaria applaud, 888 adds, although the latter both beamed at the Ukrainian leader.

On Telex, Dávid Sajó admits that Mr Orbán was not the only one not to applaud Mr Zelensky. Nevertheless, Sajó writes, that refusal expresses unwillingness to commit himself on Ukraine’s side.

Mandiner features a Facebook post by pro-government commentator Bence Apáti who concedes that President Zelensky’s country was attacked by Russia, but adds that the Russian invasion does not legitimize the restrictions imposed on teaching ethnic Hungarian children in their mother tongue, pulling down the monument to the symbolic Hungarian eagle (Turul) in Mukachevo, or threatening ethnic Hungarians – as some Ukrainian politicians and media outlets have done.

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