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Zelensky allegedly suggested blowing up Russian pipeline to Hungary

May 16th, 2023

A pro-government commentator is outraged by a leaked suggestion from the Ukrainian president to ‘blow up the Druzhba pipeline that provides oil to Hungary’. A liberal pundit describes Zelensky’s reported words as an off-the-cuff remark spoken in a moment of anger.

‘U.S. intercepts reveal the Ukrainian leader’s aggressive instincts, a marked contrast to his public-facing image as the stoic statesman weathering Russia’s brutal onslaught’, runs the lead of a Washington Post article which carries new details of the highly classified documents that were leaked earlier this year online, revealing sensitive information intended for senior US military and intelligence leaders. Based allegedly on tapped conversations with his aides, Mr Zelensky is reported to have said that ‘Ukraine should just blow up the pipeline and destroy likely Hungarian Viktor Orbán’s industry, which is based heavily on Russian oil’. Hungarian government spokesman Zoltán Kovács reacted tweeting ‘How is it possible that Ukraine is plotting against a NATO country?’

On the Mandiner website, Milán Constantinovits calls the idea a serious one and as such totally absurd as it envisaged an act of sabotage against a NATO member country which is also one of Ukraine’s most reliable humanitarian partners. Hungary, he explains, has been assisting Ukraine in everything, short of taking an active role in the war. Constantinovits would expect a firm reaction from NATO and writes that the incident will strengthen Hungary’s resolve to keep away from the war in Ukraine.

In Magyar Nemzet, Levente Sitkei describes Mr Zelensky as a typical internet influencer who engages in bombastic statements to draw followers. ‘But that is not what diplomacy or leadership are about,’ he writes. Otherwise, he doesn’t exclude the possibility that the alleged leak is a fake and should not be taken seriously.

On Telex, Dániel Zách quotes diplomacy experts who admit that Mr Zelensky feels anger towards Hungary. He suspects that his remark on the Druzhba pipeline was a sudden, nonsensical, and exaggerated outburst, but nothing else.


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