Hungary at the U.N.: Russia Has ‘Destroyed Peace in Europe’

Hungarian President Katalin Novak addresses the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York on September 21, 2022. (ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)
ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images

In her speech to the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday, Hungarian President Katalin Novak lamented that “war is raging on the European continent once again” thanks to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

She said stopping the war should be “the most urgent priority” of the U.N., but appeared pessimistic the relevant diplomatic operations were up to the task.

Novak declared her admiration for the recently departed Queen Elizabeth II of England, quoting her at length twice. She said the queen’s life was “steeped in service to peace,” and said world leaders “owe it to the people, and her memory, to make our decisions in the same spirit.”

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Queen Elizabeth II prepares to greet Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev at Buckingham Palace on November 4, 2015 in London, England. (Chris Jackson – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Novak noted she herself is a wife, a mother of three, and the first female president of a country that suffered under “45 years of Communist dictatorship,” so she felt natural sympathy for the queen’s disapproval of wars of conquest.

“We have learned war is evil, and leads nowhere,” she said.

“Russia’s war against Ukraine is a constant threat and security risk, not only for Ukrainians living in the warzone, but for all of us,” the Hungarian president said.

“Hungary firmly condemns Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, which has destroyed peace in Europe,” she proclaimed.

Valentyna Kondratieva, 75, walks into her damaged home Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022, where she sustained injuries in a Russian rocket attack last night in Kramatorsk, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine. (David Goldman/AP)

Novak demanded full investigations of alleged war crimes against civilians in the “strongest possible terms,” vowing that “no crimes committed can go unpunished.”

There was a melancholy, quietly cynical undertone to Novak’s brief remarks, as she described peace and justice as the highest goals, but set low expectations for the United Nations to meet them.

Novak noted that the U.N. is currently tracking 27 conflicts worldwide, and “right now there is not a single conflict described as ‘improving.’”

“The organizations set up to avoid war and preserve peace are focusing on ideological indoctrination. This is not what is needed today,” she declared.

“Instead we must regain our ability to distinguish between the essential and the irrelevant, the important and the unimportant, reality and fiction,” she said.

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