Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said Friday that the European Union would need to tackle "very long and difficult questions" before the bloc could even start accession talks with war-torn Ukraine.

Hungary has strained relations with Ukraine and has vowed to hold up Kyiv's efforts toward EU and NATO integration. EU members are due to decide soon whether to launch formal membership talks with Kyiv.

"I think we have very long and difficult questions to answer before we get to the point where we can even decide to start negotiations," Orban told state radio.

"We do not know how much territory this country has, because it is still at war. We do not know how big its population is, because they are fleeing," Orban added. To integrate Ukraine into the bloc "without knowing its parameters would be unprecedented," he stated.


Ukraine applied for EU membership just days after Russia's invasion on February 24, 2022, and received candidacy status several months later in a strong signal of support from Brussels.

Orban has sought to maintain close ties with the Kremlin despite the war. Budapest-Kyiv relations have been strained over the issue of minority rights in the Transcarpathian region of western Ukraine.

Around 200,000 ethnic Hungarians live in Ukraine, almost all in the Transcarpathia region which belonged to Hungary before World War I.

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