Hungary is facing expulsion from the Bucharest Nine over its refusal to endorse joint statements in support of Ukraine, sources say FILE PHOTO: Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Mihaly Orban. © Thierry Monasse / Getty Images

A club of Eastern European and Baltic NATO nations is considering forcing out Hungary, a member state, for refusing to take the same stance on Ukraine, sources told the Financial Times.

The Bucharest Nine was founded in 2015 and includes Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia. Senior officials from the regional group regularly meet to coordinate their foreign and security policy; a gathering of its leaders is scheduled to take place in Riga on Tuesday.

Hungary, however, may be expelled from the club over its refusal to endorse joint statements of support for sending military aid to Ukraine and otherwise support Kiev in its confrontation with Moscow, insider sources told The Financial Times.

“We are likely meeting in this format for the last time,” one of the people familiar with the situation told the newspaper, calling the discussions “very serious.”

Punish Hungary to ensure EU’s future – bloc presidency holder Punish Hungary to ensure EU’s future – bloc presidency holder

All members of the Bucharest Nine were either Warsaw Pact nations or Soviet republics during the Cold War, and joined NATO during its expansion after the USSR collapsed. Hungary, however, is at odds with the other countries over the Ukraine conflict.

Budapest opposes the continued arming of Kiev, saying this only prolongs the hostilities, and advocates for immediate peace talks instead. It is also highly skeptical of Western promises to eventually bring Ukraine into NATO and the EU. Supporters of Kiev have branded the government of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban “pro-Russian” over the position, which he says is guided by his nation’s interests.

A similar push to ostracize Hungary is reportedly underway within the EU, where some members have called for suspending its voting rights. Belgium, which holds the rotating presidency in the European Council, believes that the future of the bloc may depend on it, Politico reported last week.

“This is a moment of truth,” Belgian Foreign Minister Hadja Lahbib told the news outlet, referring to the so-called Article 7 proceedings against Hungary. “If we go all the way with this mechanism, it must work. If it doesn’t work, we have to reform it. That’s the future of the European Union.”

Hungary is scheduled to take over the presidency in July. (RT)