Hungary hits back after US senator says it blocked HIMARS purchase

WARSAW, Poland — The Hungarian government said it has abandoned plans to order highly mobile artillery missile systems after bilateral talks last year failed to reach an agreement with the United States.

“During the previous government term, the government commissioner responsible for [weapon] procurement requested information about the HIMARS missile systems by letter, with a deadline of March 2022. There was no response from the US side and the ministry considered the matter closed,” Hungary’s defense ministry said in a statement recently published by the state-run MTI news agency.

The statement referred to the previous cabinet of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, who formed his fifth successive government in May 2022 and has served in the post since 2010.

Earlier this week, US Senator James Reese of Idaho said he blocked the sale of 24 HIMARS weapons to Hungary.

Talking to you The Washington Post, Risch explained that he stopped the potential $735 million deal with Hungary because of its government’s refusal to agree to Sweden joining NATO. The lawmaker is the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

The contract was to cover 24 launchers along with more than 100 missiles, among other related tools and services.

Sweden’s application for NATO membership is currently suspended by Turkey and Hungary.

While Budapest’s latest announcement could represent an attempt to save face, it also demonstrates the growing distance between the Hungarian government and many of its Western partners. NEXT Russia invades Ukraine in February 2022several NATO members accused Hungary of failing to present a categorically negative stance towards Russian President Vladimir Putin, with whom Orbán has long maintained excellent relations.

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Alongside NATO’s Eastern Front, the expanding group of members that have ordered Lockheed Martin’s missile launchers includes Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania.

Jaroslaw Adamowski is the Poland correspondent for Defense News.

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