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Viktor Orbán Urges Calm after Missile Incident in Poland

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán held an extraordinary meeting with members of the government to discuss the missile incident in Poland and the shutdown of the Friendship oil pipeline. The Hungarian government believes that calm responses are needed to avoid escalation.

Two people have been killed when a missile landed outside the rural Polish village of Przewodow, 6.4 kilometers west of the Ukrainian border on Tuesday afternoon. Polish President Andrzej Duda said there is no “conclusive evidence” as to who launched the missile which was most likely Russian-made, while Russia’s defense ministry denied it was behind the blast and says it is a “deliberate provocation aimed at escalation,” the BBC reported. “It is unlikely in the lines of the trajectory that it was fired from Russia,” American President Joe Biden said.

Also on Tuesday, the Friendship pipeline was shut down after a transformer supplying power to it was hit by a missile. Hungarian oil and gas company MOL said according to MTI, that it was prepared to ensure the country and the region’s energy supply after power to the pipeline which delivers Russian crude to Europe was cut.

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán convened the meeting of the Defense Council on Tuesday evening, due to the stoppage of the Friendship oil pipeline and the missile explosion in Poland. Prior to the meeting, Defense Minister Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky consulted with NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg on the telephone.

“In the current situation, the most important thing is to remain calm”, Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky said on public television after the meeting. “We have to wait for the Polish government to provide information about the possible missile attack, and in the case of the oil pipeline, it is important that it was not the pipeline but a transformer that was hit. MOL has a 90-day reserve, during which time the service can be restarted,” he explained.

“We are also urging ourselves to be very careful not to draw any far-reaching conclusions from this assessment at this time,” the minister said, adding that on the basis of the information currently available, everyone is urging their countries to remain calm, and it remains to be seen what information the Polish government will come up with.

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Viktor Orbán decided that after the Defense Council meeting on Tuesday evening, the latest developments in the Russian-Ukrainian war will be assessed in detail at this morning’s cabinet meeting as well, Zoltán Kovács, the Secretary of State for International Communication and Relations announced. “The meeting will analyze the current situation from the point of view of Hungary’s military and energy security, including on the basis of intelligence reports,” he added. “What is needed now is calm,” Viktor Orbán wrote on Facebook.

In a Facebook video posted on Wednesday morning, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said that he had a telephone conversation with Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau, to whom he expressed Hungary’s solidarity and indicated that if Poland needs help, “we are at their disposal”.

The Polish Foreign Minister indicated that they could not yet say anything for sure about the missile strikes, they did not know who could have fired the missiles and with what intentions. An investigation is being carried out at the site of the impact, and if the results of the investigation are worth reporting, Hungary will be informed.

The most important thing is that strategic calm should prevail among decision-makers in order to prevent tragic and uncontrolled consequences,

Szijjártó said.

On the Friendship oil pipeline, he said that it is likely that the pipeline will be able to resume transport in the near future and that Hungary’s energy supply is not at risk.

Hungarian President Katalin Novák reacted on Twitter.

Featured photo via Miniszterelnöki Sajtóiroda/Fischer Zoltán

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