Visegrad defense meeting canceled due to split in Russia – POLITICO

The Visegrad Group defense ministers’ meeting scheduled for this week was canceled on Tuesday after Poland and the Czech Republic withdrew over Hungary’s tepid response to Russia’s war on Ukraine.

The meeting was scheduled to take place in Budapest on Wednesday and Thursday.

A spokesman for Slovakia’s Defense Ministry told POLITICO that the meeting had been canceled by Hungary and that Slovakia’s Defense Minister Jaroslav Naď had “taken note of Hungary’s decision to postpone the meeting”.

Budapest currently holds the rotating chair of the Visegrad Group, the regional platform that brings together Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia to discuss political, defense and cultural cooperation.

The latest clashes between the four Central European partners began last Friday when Czech Defense Minister Jana Černochová dropped out of the meeting. “I have always supported the V4 and I am very sorry that cheap Russian oil is more important to Hungarian politicians than Ukrainian blood,” she wrote on Twitter.

Polish media then reported on Monday evening that Mariusz Błaszczak, Poland’s Defense Minister, would also be there snub the meeting. The Deputy Head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Marcin Przydacz, told Polish television said on Monday that Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán had “made a mistake” in his approach to the war in Ukraine.

While Hungary has backed four rounds of EU sanctions against Russia over Vladimir Putin’s attack in Ukraine, it has argued that any energy-targeted measures or plans for an EU “peacekeeping mission” in Ukraine would do so form a so-called red line. Budapest has also refused to let arms into Ukraine via its territory.

Poland, in particular, has campaigned vehemently for a Russian energy embargo, and the conflict has strained what are normally strong relations between Warsaw and Budapest.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called on Orbán to oppose tougher sanctions against Moscow at last week’s European Council summit. “Hungary, I want to stop here and be honest. Once and for all, you have to decide for yourself who you are with,” he said. Visegrad defense meeting canceled due to split in Russia - POLITICO

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