Austrian Defense Minister Klaudia Tanner and Hungarian Defense Minister Kristof Szalay-Bobrovniczky inked the agreement during a Jan. 30 meeting in the Hungarian capital Budapest. The defense ministers reiterated their "clear" position against providing Ukraine with war materiel "to prevent a further escalation."
Szalay-Bobrovniczky told reporters that the Hungarian government would only supply humanitarian aid to Ukrainian refugees, adding that Budapest and Vienna would be on the side of peace. "We live in a time of danger," he remarked. "Continuing that close cooperation is of utter importance."
Meanwhile, Tanner warned that the greatest danger is the war – which now involves hybrid warfare – could spread to the rest of Europe. "The effects are not only enormously felt in Austria, but also in Hungary. Eventually, the routes run through our neighboring country to us," the Austrian defense minister said. (Related: Europe quietly abandoning Ukraine by withholding military aid.)
Late last month, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban described Ukraine as a no man's land and compared it to Afghanistan. The Hungarian leader's comments prompted Kyiv to summon the country's ambassador to Ukraine over the "unacceptable" remarks.
A high-ranking diplomatic source in the European Union disclosed that Budapest had blocked €500 million ($550 million) in military aid in the seventh package allocated to Ukraine. This was not the first time Hungary made such a move. In December of last year, the country also held up the EU's €18 billion ($19.8 billion) macro-financial assistance package to Kyiv. Media reports alleged that Budapest's move was an attempt to force Brussels to release aid to the Central European nation.
In a Jan. 29 video address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said it is important for Ukraine to continue receiving military support from partners because Russia seeks to "prolong the war" and "exhaust [Ukrainian] forces."
Austria and Hungary went against the grain with their decision not to provide weapons to Kyiv. Meanwhile, other countries reiterated their pledge to arm Ukraine against its bigger enemy.
A Jan. 27 report by Reuters revealed that France and Italy were close to finalizing a deal to supply Ukraine with the SAMP/T air defense system. The system jointly developed by a Franco-Italian consortium can track dozens of targets and intercept 10 of them at once. Kyiv specifically requested the system, also known by the moniker Mamba, back in November of last year.
"We are finalizing it with the Italians," one diplomatic source told Reuters. "It's not very far off."
A second diplomat disclosed: "A political decision was made. It's now just finalizing the technical details because it's a complicated system."
Aligning with the diplomats' revelations, French Defense Minister Sebastian Lecornu flew to Italy on Jan. 27 to meet his Italian counterpart Guido Crosetto.
Paris has previously supplied Ukraine with Mistral shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles and Crotale short-range air missiles, both used to intercept low-flying missiles and aircraft.
The news of Paris and Rome providing additional military equipment to Kyiv followed earlier assistance by Germany and the United States.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz announced that he would send Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine. Meanwhile, U.S. President Joe Biden announced that 30 M1 Abrams tanks would be sent to the battlefield in Kyiv.
Head over to WWIII.news for more stories about the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war.
Watch this Russia Today report about Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban being added to a list of Ukraine's supposed "enemies."
This video is from the High Hopes channel on Brighteon.com.