Hungarian expert András Rácz, who until recently worked for Hungary’s state Institute for Strategic and Defence Studies and is currently a Senior Fellow at the German Council on Foreign Relations, told European Pravda why Budapest sent troops to Ukraine’s border in February 2022, dispelling speculations that Hungary was posed to occupy Ukraine’s westernmost Zakarpattia Oblast simultaneously with the start of Russia’s invasion.Rácz explained that Hungary’s military presence was not meant for attacking Ukraine, but rather as part of a contingency plan in the event of a humanitarian crisis and massive refugee wave. Stier emphasized that Hungary did not believe Russia would attack and had initially focused on a plan A with no Russian aggression. However, Hungary also had a plan B in case the situation escalated.
It is crucial to note that these plans were not formulated with the intention of attacking Ukraine. Rather, Hungary’s focus was on ensuring its own security and managing the implications of the conflict. When Russia invaded, Hungary was taken by surprise, like many other countries, as it did not anticipate Russia’s serious mistake of attacking Ukraine. Therefore, the deployment to Ukraine’s borders was purely defensive, and driven by three main motives: