Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban on Thursday called for EU support to Ukraine to be reviewed annually, as difficult negotiations on the issue continue ahead of an EU summit.

"If we want to help Ukraine, let's do it outside the EU-budget and on a yearly basis! This is the only democratic position just 5 months before the elections," Orban wrote on X, referring to the European Parliament elections in June.

His proposal is in stark contrast with a recent appeal by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to provide Ukrainians with "predictable financing throughout 2024 and beyond" to help the country regain "its rightful territory".

This development follows the European Parliament's resolution, which opens the door to potential legal action against the EU's executive arm over the release of 10 billion euros in frozen funds to Hungary.

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The European Commission unlocked the money for Budapest last month as Brussels looked to win Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban's backing for more support for Ukraine.

The executive says Hungary passed legislation to improve the independence of the country's judiciary and therefore had the right to access the funds.

But lawmakers insisted Budapest had not fulfilled the reforms demanded and accused the commission of caving in to pressure from far-right populist Orban.

"Parliament will look into whether legal action should be pursued to overturn the decision to partially unfreeze funds, and notes that it can use an array of legal and political measures," the legislature said in a statement.

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Russian forces are nearing Chasiv Yar – a town perched on strategic heights – and Pokrovsk, a rail hub where Ukraine says fighting is most tense.

The parliament also called for EU member states to push forward a procedure against Hungary started in 2018 over its backsliding on key EU democratic standards. In theory, that procedure could lead to Hungary's voting rights in EU meetings being suspended.

The EU released the 10 billion euros in frozen funds to Hungary on the eve of a summit last month that saw Orban allow the bloc to agree to start negotiations with Ukraine on joining the EU.

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But he did veto another proposal, one that would give the government in Kyiv 50 billion euros in urgently needed financing over the next four years.

EU leaders will reconvene on February 1 for another summit aimed at overcoming Orban's block on the funding for Ukraine.

Budapest has signalled it could be ready to compromise and agree to the aid -- if it is given the chance each year to veto further payments.

EU officials say that if they cannot win over Hungary, the other 26 member states will look to provide cash outside the EU's budget, but this is likely to be for a shorter timeframe.

Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen on Wednesday told parliament that some 20 billion euros for Hungary "remain frozen" over concerns on LGBTQI rights, academic freedom and asylum rights.

She insisted that billions held up by Brussels "will remain blocked until Hungary fulfils all the necessary conditions."

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