Orbán Urges Zelensky to Consider Truce

Ukraine | July 2, 2024, Tuesday // 16:46|  views

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has called on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to consider a short truce during his first visit to Ukraine since Russia's invasion in April 2022. Orbán’s visit coincides with Hungary assuming the EU's rotating presidency, and he believes a brief ceasefire could expedite peace talks.

Ukrainian President Zelensky emphasized his desire for a "just peace" while the two leaders discussed improving bilateral relations and signing a broad cooperation agreement. Western media have noted Orbán's opposition to EU initiatives supporting Ukraine, such as his veto of a 50 billion euro aid package, and expressed concerns over his ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Orbán, seen as Putin's biggest ally in Europe, softened his tone towards Kyiv during this visit. He praised Zelensky's peace initiatives but stressed the need for a ceasefire to accelerate peace talks. Despite his previous criticism, Orbán outlined a path to peace and expressed gratitude for Zelensky's honest negotiations.

Zelensky underscored the importance of continued European support for Ukraine's defense against Russian aggression and highlighted the need for meaningful cooperation among European neighbors.

Orbán remains the only EU leader maintaining ties with Putin, having met him in Beijing last year. Since the war began, Hungary’s foreign minister has visited Russia five times. The Kremlin, through spokesman Dmitry Peskov, expressed skepticism about Orbán's visit, noting that Hungary's role as the EU presidency would likely prioritize Brussels’ interests over national ones.

The meeting also addressed the hope of improving long-strained relations between Budapest and Kyiv, partly due to the Hungarian minority in Ukraine. Orbán expressed Hungary’s desire to participate in Ukraine’s reconstruction efforts.

Meanwhile, the Russian Ministry of Defense reported the destruction of five Su-27 fighter jets and damage to two more at the Myrhorod airportin the Poltava region. This attack coincides with the Netherlands’ announcement of delivering the first of 24 promised F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine. In response, Ukraine's air force reported a "devastating" strike on a Russian ammunition depot in Crimea.

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Tags: Hungary, Ukraine, Zelensky, Orban

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