The B9 support Ukraine and the earliest possible restoration of peace
The Bucharest Nine (B9) are committed to further supporting Ukraine and above all to the earliest possible restoration of peace, President of Hungary Katalin Novák stressed after the meeting of the Heads of State of the B9, NATO's Central and Eastern European members, in Pozsony on Tuesday.
The Bucharest Nine (B9 - the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Bulgaria) were joined in person by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, and by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in a video message. The main topic was strengthening security and stability in Europe.
At Tuesday's meeting, the Bucharest Nine adopted a joint declaration expressing their shared commitment to further supporting Ukraine and, above all, to the restoration of peace as soon as possible.
Katalin Novák highlighted the inexplicable, brutal and tragic attacks on civilians in Ukraine. She recalled that she, like most of her colleagues, had personally expressed her condolences during her previous visit to Ukraine.
The Hungarian Head of State added that the declaration adopted on Tuesday condemns Russia's unjustified attack and recognises Ukraine's right to self-defence.
The B9 must remain ready to provide humanitarian assistance, she pointed out, adding that Hungary has received two million refugees from Ukraine since the start of the war.
Katalin Novák also drew attention to the importance of thinking about the future of Ukraine: the B9 must be present in Ukraine during and after the post-war reconstruction, she said.
However, it is important not to make unrealistic promises, she stressed, adding that it is crucial for Ukraine to make military decisions based on realistic expectations.
The Hungarian Head of State said that the B9 are in favour of offering Ukraine the prospect of NATO membership, and they also support the Alliance's "open door" policy.
They are therefore encouraging Ukraine to introduce further reforms in order to achieve NATO and EU membership, said Katalin Novák, adding as her own position that this also includes respect for minority rights in Ukraine.
The President of Hungary also drew attention to the importance of stability in the Western Balkans, which is a fundamental condition for the stability of Europe as a whole.
As she recalled, Hungary is geographically located between two crisis zones; recently, for example, several Hungarian soldiers were injured in the unrest in Kosovo as members of the KFOR mission - Katalin Novák said.
After Tuesday's meeting, Jens Stoltenberg highlighted in his Twitter account his exchange of views with Katalin Novák, saying he had a good discussion with the President of Hungary, a "valued ally".
Katalin Novák also emphasized on social media that "A strong NATO is in Hungary’s best interest, and that is also why our country is delivering on its pledge to spend 2% of its GDP on defence ahead of the time limit agreed".