Orban sees link between attack on pro-peace Fico, war preparations in West

BUDAPEST, May 17. /TASS/. The attack on Slovak Premier Robert Fico, who has been pushing for peace in Ukraine, came amid active preparations by Western countries to directly participate in the Ukraine conflict, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said.

The shooting in Slovakia “coincided with some other events indicating war preparations,” Orban told a morning show on Kossuth Radio. He referred to a recent visit to Kiev by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, US plans to collect $100 bln in aid to Ukraine in the next five years and debates about sending Western troops to the former Soviet republic. “This gives me the willies,” he said.

According to Orban, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg is planning to visit Hungary in the run-up to elections to the European Parliament scheduled for June 6-9 to try and persuade Budapest to reconsider its stance. “Major global players are seeking to drag Hungary into war,” as has repeatedly happened throughout history, but this will not occur now, the Hungarian PM said with confidence. “Continued hostilities [in Ukraine] would mean continued suffering as the conflict can only be resolved at the negotiating table, and not on the battlefield. This is what is at stake ahead of the EU parliamentary election and this is our position today,” he said.

Commenting on the attempt on Fico’s life, Orban recounted that Slovakia was determined to negotiate peace in Ukraine, offering “a great deal of support” to Hungary which has consistently favored resolving the Ukraine conflict through talks. In Western Europe, only the Vatican, too, promotes peace, but the Holy See “does not vote in solving political issues” at EU meetings, Orban maintained.

“This means we should double down, and my work is getting harder in Brussels where I have to debate with politicians from the war camp,” Orban concluded.

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Fico was attacked in the town of Handlova on May 15. The Slovak premier was shot multiple times in the chest, the abdomen and an extremity and doctors performed a five-hour operation on him. He is currently in serious but not life-threatening condition, the authorities said. The gunman, writer Juraj Cintula, has been detained, Slovak media reported. The attack is believed to be politically motivated as Cintula said he disagreed with the government.

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