Hungary's foreign ministry summons Ukrainian envoy over 'insults'

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Hungary's Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto addresses the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, at the U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., September 23, 2021. Mary Altaffer/Pool via REUTERS

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BUDAPEST, April 6 (Reuters) - Hungary's foreign ministry summoned Ukraine's ambassador on Wednesday over what it called offensive comments from Kyiv regarding Budapest's stance on Russia's invasion.

Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto, in comments released three days after nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban was re-elected, said Hungary had condemned Russia's invasion, acknowledged Ukraine's sovereignty and taken in hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing the war.

So it was "time for Ukrainian leaders to stop their insults directed at Hungary and acknowledge the will of the Hungarian people," Szijjarto said in a statement, referring to Sunday's landslide election win.

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"This is not our war, so we want to and will stay out of it," Szijjarto added, reiterating the stance that helped Orban win a fourth consecutive term.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on Tuesday said Orban feared Russia's influence and would have to choose between Moscow and the "other world". read more

Orban, who easily won what pollsters had until shortly before election day tipped to be a close vote, has condemned Russia's invasion, which the Kremlin describes as a "special military operation", and not vetoed European Union sanctions against Moscow.

But he has refrained from criticising President Vladimir Putin directly and said he does not agree with sanctions, rejecting the idea of curbs on oil and gas imports from Russia, saying that would wreck Hungary's economy.

The EU moved quickly and decisively to impose an unprecedented range of sanctions on Moscow after the invasion, but has struggled to remain united over banning oil and gas imports because so many member states rely heavily on Russian energy.

Orban scored a landslide win in Sunday's election, as voters endorsed his self-declared vision of a conservative, illiberal state and shrugged off concerns over Budapest's decade-long close business ties with Moscow.

Long a thorn in the side of European Union authorities in Brussels, Orban has faced rare criticism from his nationalist allies in neighbouring Poland over his cautious stance on the war.

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Reporting by Krisztina Than; editing by John Stonestreet

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