Republicans will meet with Hungarian Viktor Orbán’s allies to end aid to Ukraine | US Congress

Allies of Hungarian far-right Prime Minister Viktor Orbán will hold a closed-door meeting with Republicans in Washington to press for an end to US military support for Ukraine, the Guardian has learned.

Márton Ugrósdy, deputy secretary of state in the prime minister’s political director’s office, and Attila Demkó, a prominent pro-Orbán academic, along with members of the Hungarian embassy in Washington, will begin a two-day event on Monday hosted by the conservative Party. Heritage Foundation thinking group.

The first day includes lectures on the war in Ukraine as well as topics such as the transatlantic culture wars. It is expected to accommodate guests such as Kelly Currieformer ambassador under then-President Donald Trump, and Magor Ernyei, international director of the Center for Fundamental Rights, the institute that organized CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference) in Hungary.

According to a Republican source, some participants, including Republican members of Congress, were invited to join the closed-door discussions the next day.

The meeting will take place against a backdrop of tense debates in Washington over the future of Ukraine. Last week, the White House warned that without congressional action, funds to purchase additional weapons and equipment for kyiv would run out by the end of the year. Senate Republicans on Wednesday blocked an emergency spending bill intended to fund the war in Ukraine.

A diplomatic source close to the Hungarian embassy said: “Orbán is convinced that aid to Ukraine will not be passed by Congress. “That’s why he’s also trying to block EU aid.”

Orbán frequently criticizes aid intended to help Ukraine against the Russian invasion. Considered Vladimir Putin’s closest ally in the EU in recent years, he was photographed smiling and shaking the Russian president’s hand two months ago in Beijing.

Orbán recently called for Ukraine’s membership in the European Union (EU) to be removed from the agenda of the December European Council. The Hungarian leader posted onformer Twitter platform: “It is clear that the European Commission’s proposal on Ukraine’s accession to the EU is unfounded and poorly prepared. »

The Heritage Foundation leads Project 2025, a coalition preparing for the next Conservative presidential administration, and has hosted speeches in recent months from Liz Truss and Iain Duncan Smith, senior members of the British Conservative Party.

The think tank has also been a vocal opponent of U.S. aid to Ukraine. Last year, Jessica Anderson, executive director of her lobbying operation, issued a statement under the title: “The Ukraine aid package puts America last. » In August, Victoria Coates, vice president of Heritage, posted on social media: “It’s time to end the blank and undated checks for Ukraine.”

When Heritage celebrated its 50th anniversary last April, Orbán’s political director, Balázs Orbán (no relation), was invited as a speaker for the event. Heritage President Kevin Roberts repeatedly congratulated the Hungarian leader on: “One thing is clear from my visit to Hungary and my involvement in current political and cultural debates in America: the world needs a movement that fights for truth, for tradition, for families and for average individual. »

In recent years, Orbán has defended a far-right transatlantic alliance with a hard line against immigration and “gender ideology”, staunch Christian nationalism and a contempt for those who warn against a slide towards authoritarianism.

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Hungary has been described by conservative media as an anti-woke paradise and a model for the United States. Some far-right Republicans, such as Kari Lake and Paul Gosar, have said they would like to see the “Hungarian model” transplanted to the United States, particularly in immigration policy and family policy. CPAC visited Hungary for the second time this year, and former Fox News host Tucker Carlson filmed several episodes in Hungary touting Orbán’s policies.

Orbán reciprocated by praising Trump. At this year’s CPAC show, where Roberts also appeared as a speaker, he claimed that if Trump were president, “there would be no war in Ukraine and Europe.” The Hungarian prime minister criticized multiple federal indictments against the former US president and called the legal proceedings “a very communist methodology” in a recent interview with Carlson.

Dalibor Rohacsenior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute think tank in Washington, said: “The Hungarian embassy in Washington has been very active lately, trying to repair ties with the Republicans and strengthen them where appropriate.

“It is also not surprising that Heritage is the venue for these discussions because they are different from other Washington think tanks; they are more partisan and their funding model strongly overlaps with Trump’s.

But, Rohac said, despite his good relations with some Republicans, it was “unlikely” that Orbán would have any leverage over U.S. funding for Ukraine.

Ukraine supporters have also made their case to Republicans in Congress. This week, David Cameron, the British Foreign Secretary, held meetings on Capitol Hill. He said at a press conference: “I am sure that goodwill will prevail and the money will be voted, and this will have a huge effect not only on the morale of Ukraine, but also on the fact that European countries will continue to ask themselves what They can do more.”

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