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Mayor: Budapest won’t compromise on its own, others’ freedom

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Mayor Gergely Karacsony said at a demonstration held on Saturday to mark the second anniversary of the start of the war in Ukraine that Budapest will not compromise on its own or others’ freedom, expressing solidarity with the Ukrainian people.

Karacsony said that the demonstration held near the Russian embassy in central Budapest was meant to send “a message to Putin and Putin’s students” that “Budapest will not compromise on its own freedom or on the freedom of others”.

“We are here today to stand with the courageous Ukrainian people and send the message to the world that although we may have a worthless government, we are not a worthless nation,” Karacsony said.

The mayor expressed shame over Hungary’s incumbent government, insisting that there were conflicts in which it did not come into question whether one sides with the aggressor or the victim.

“Budapest knows what it is like when Russian tanks roll along its streets. Budapest knows how hard it is to stand up for freedom. But Budapest knows, too, that if there is no freedom, then there is nothing, either,” said Karacsony.

Katalin Cseh, an MEP of opposition Momentum, the chief organiser of the event, said that “Vladimir Putin’s brutal, bloody, inhumane war has been going on in Ukraine for two years now,” with Ukraine fighting “its freedom fight against oppression under a terror which is unimaginable for us overall”.

She called for standing with and helping Ukraine, saying that “it is our duty to show the world that the Hungarian nation will not serve the interests of Vladimir Putin, a war criminal … We are not siding with a war criminal,” said Cseh.

She noted that more than 500 children had been killed and some 20,000 Ukrainian children had been deported by the Russians in the war.

The Momentum MEP called it “shameful” that “Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has made assistance to Ukraine subject to blackmail because of his questionable and shady dealings with Putin”.

“It is a primary goal for us all that Hungary should not be dragged into the war, but one who acts as a servant to an aggressor in a war is one with a pro-war mindset. Viktor Orbán is one doing so, Viktor Orbán is a pro-war [politician],” Cseh said.

At the demonstration, participants observed a minute of silence to pay tribute to the victims of the war.

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