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ISW: Russia using nationalist sentiments to drive wedges between Ukraine and its western neighbors

Hungary flag on Parliament building in Budapest
Hungary flag on Parliament building in Budapest. Credit: Depositphotos
ISW: Russia using nationalist sentiments to drive wedges between Ukraine and its western neighbors

Russia appears to be fueling and seizing on neo-imperialist and nationalist sentiments in Europe in order to drive wedges between Ukraine and its western neighbors, the US-based think tank Institute for the Study of War (ISW) says.

“The Russian ultranationalist framework of the Russian World (Russkiy Mir) concept appears to have gained traction among nationalist European factions as applied to their own nationalist ideologies, and Russian information space actors likely seek to leverage this ideological bent to drive a wedge between Ukraine and its European neighbors,” ISW wrote.

On 27 January, Laszlo Toroczkai, the leader of Hungary’s right-wing Our Homeland Movement party, declared that Hungary should assert claims over Ukraine’s Zakarpattia Oblast if Ukraine were to be defeated in the war.

Hungary far-right party calls for seizing Ukraine’s Zakarpattia if Russia wins

On 29 January, Claudiu Tarziu, leader of Romania’s right-wing Alliance for the Union of Romanians party, stressed that Romania should “reintegrate” regions of Ukraine bordering Romania, historically inhabited by Romanian populations, to preserve its sovereignty.

Russian sources have been amplifying the statements of Toroczkai and Tarziu, highlighting these ultranationalist Romanian and Hungarian territorial claims on Ukraine.

This follows Russia’s earlier suggestion of a “partitioned Ukraine” between itself and the West prior to the full-scale invasion.

In December 2023, Russian President Vladimir Putin and other top officials revived the narrative of Ukraine’s “territorial disputes” with Poland, Romania, and Hungary, suggesting Ukraine could retain “sovereignty” if limited to the borders of Lviv Oblast.

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