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Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky: Norway significantly contributes to Hungary’s air defence

Text: Ministry of Defence |  13:14 April 21, 2023

Norway significantly contributes to an important field in Hungary’s defence capabilities, namely the air defence of our homeland, stated Defence Minister Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky on Thursday, 20 April in Oslo.

Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky emphasized that in the time of war, it is especially important for us to strengthen our cooperation with our partners and allies. The Minister of Defence also held discussions with the representatives of the Norwegian government and the Members of Parliament. He told the press that he and Norwegian Defence Minister Bjorn Arild Gram had discussed several important topics. First and foremost, they talked about the construction of Hungary’s air defence system, to which Norway contributes the National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAMS).

Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky said that the delivery of the system and the training of its operators are under way in accordance with the agreement, and expressed his hope that there will be more cooperation later on. The ministers discussed the situation that has arisen due to the war in Ukraine, as well as the responses given by our countries. The Hungarian Minister of Defence underlined that personal meetings like the present one provide the two sides with first-hand opportunities to learn about each other’s positions without distortion. Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky underscored that Hungarians see things from a different perspective because they live in Ukraine’s immediate neighborhood and have a significant Hungarian ethnic community living in the war-torn country – where not only is the fighting taking a deadly toll on Hungarians, but the rights of Hungarian minorities are also being curtailed again.

He added that Hungary stands on the side of peace and protects all Hungarians, whether they live on the Hungarian or the Ukrainian side of the border. For this reason, Hungary is not donating any weapons or ammunition to Ukraine, and does not allow any weapon shipments or military equipment going to Ukraine to cross the borders of Hungary. Nevertheless, we have condemned the war from the beginnings; we stand up for Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, and are helping war-stricken people in the areas of both Hungary and Ukraine, in the framework of the largest-scale humanitarian aid program in Hungarian history – added the minister.

The minister told the press that he had met with the representatives of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence of the Norwegian Parliament as well. He also assured the MPs that Hungary is a committed NATO Ally that is performing beyond its means, as is shown by its numerous international engagements, notably its role in the Baltic Air Policing mission and the Kosovo Force (KFOR) – which is known as NATO’s largest land operation –, as well as by the fact that Hungary is the framework nation of one of the multinational battle groups formed to strengthen the eastern flank of the Alliance. He pointed out that in accordance with the NATO guideline, the extent of Hungary’s defence spending may reach the 2% GDP target already this year, and the government of Hungary considers it as a threshold rather than as a ceiling.

(Press release of the Ministry of Defence)