• Orbán Travels To Moscow To Meet Putin

    July 6, 2024
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    Viktor Orbán and Vladimir Putin in Moscow

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    Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has arrived in Moscow, in what is described as a “peace mission,” to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The visit was announced by the Prime Minister’s press secretary Bertalan Havasi on Friday. Orbán’s visit coincides with Hungary’s assumption of the European Union’s rotating presidency on July 1 and follows his meeting with Ukrainian leader Volodomir Zelensky in Kiev on Tuesday.

    Prior to his departure for Moscow, Orbán stressed that Hungary holding the rotating EU presidency did not give it a mandate to engage in talks on behalf of the European Union, “I wouldn’t even dream of it,” he said. The Prime Minister did explain, however, that he intends to explore the situation to find out how far each party is willing and able to go, and once that assessment has been made, the leaders of the 27 Member States of the European Union could make a decision. And once a decision has been made, those who have the mandate will engage in talks. “We are a long way from this, we can only take the very first steps on the path leading to peace,” the Hungarian Prime Minister said.

    Orbán became the first Western leader to visit Russia since April of 2022. The war in Ukraine was the key issue discussed by the two leaders. The Russian President said that his country is interested in an end to hostilities, but that Ukraine and its backers have derailed all such attempts. The Hungarian Prime Minister agreed that the search for a peaceful solution should continue.

    According to the Russian President, Ukraine has rejected all peace proposals because “the excuse for extending martial law would disappear” and the country would have to hold elections. If free and fair elections are held, the chances of “the Ukrainian rulers, who have lost their ratings and legitimacy” to win them would be close to zero.

    The main condition Putin requires for an end to the conflict in Ukraine is the complete withdrawal of Ukrainian troops from the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, and from the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions, something that has been rejected by Zelensky.

    The Hungarian Prime Minister pointed out that over the past two years, it has become clear that only diplomacy can achieve a settlement of the conflict. “Peace will not come by itself, you have to work for it,” Orbán stressed. “That’s why I was in Kiev this week, and that’s why I’m in Moscow now.”

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    Orbán pointed out that the number of countries that can talk to both sides of the conflict in Ukraine is shrinking. Hungary “will probably soon become the only one in Europe who talks to both Russia and Ukraine.”

    Following his meeting with Putin, Orbán posted on X (formerly Twitter), “I have concluded my talks in Moscow with President Putin. My goal was to open the channels of direct communication and start a dialogue on the shortest road to peace. Mission accomplished!”



    Staff Writer

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