Europe’s Far-Right Parties Don’t See Eye to Eye on Putin or Ukraine

Europe’s Far-Right Parties Don’t See Eye to Eye on Putin or Ukraine
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni receives Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at the Palazzo Chigi, in Rome, Italy, May 13, 2023 (Sipa photo by Massimo Di Vita via AP Images).

When European Union leaders met in early February to discuss a $54 billion aid package for Ukraine, they knew their biggest challenge would be convincing Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban to endorse the plan. After all, Orban had vowed to create obstacles for backing Ukraine.

Like many of his far-right acolytes, Orban is an admirer and supporter of Russian President Vladimir Putin. But as it turns out, the sentiment is not universally shared among leaders at the ultra-nationalist illiberal end of the political spectrum. In fact, it was another far-right leader, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, who played a pivotal role in convincing Orban to ultimately back the EU funding for Ukraine.

The far right is strengthening across Europe, and its members support many of the same anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim policies at home. But when it comes to Putin and Ukraine, they stand deeply divided.

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