Hungary will not send troops to fight in Ukraine, Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s chief of staff said Wednesday.

Gergely Gulyas said at a news conference that Prime Minister Viktor Orban instructed the interior and defense ministries to prepare an action plan for a possible wave of refugees from Ukraine.

Noting that Hungary can accept tens of thousands of refugees, Gulyas said the government assumed that most of the refugees would choose Poland, while the Hungarian minority living in Ukraine and Ukrainians in the region would choose Hungary.

About 150,000 Hungarians live in Ukraine.

Years of tensions

Along with its invasion of Crimea in 2014, Russia began to support separatist forces in eastern Ukraine against the central government, a policy that it has maintained ever since.

The US, with its European allies, has been warning since November that Russia was preparing for aggression against Ukraine after having amassed more than 100,000 troops and heavy equipment in and around its neighbor.

Russia has denied it is preparing to invade and accused Western countries of undermining its security through NATO’s expansion towards its borders.

The Russian lower chamber of parliament, the State Duma, voted Tuesday to recognize Ukraine’s separatist regions of Donetsk and Luhansk as independent states.

*Writing by Seda Sevencan

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