Espreso. Global

Orban in Moscow urges Putin to cease fire, Russian leader repeats ultimatum on starting talks with Ukraine

5 July, 2024 Friday

On Friday, July 5, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban arrived in the Russian capital of Moscow on a visit. In the Kremlin, he met with Russian dictator Vladimir Putin and called for a ceasefire


During the talks, the Hungarian prime minister said that Moscow and Kyiv's positions on the Ukrainian conflict settlement are far from each other, but expressed his intention to continue working to resolve the crisis.

According to him, "there are many steps to be taken to get closer to ending the war."

"However, we have made the most important step: we have established contact, and I will continue to work in this direction. I wanted to hear and did hear Mr. President's opinion on three important issues: what he thinks about the peace initiatives that are currently in place, what he thinks about the ceasefire and peace talks, in what sequence they can be held, and the third thing I was interested in was the vision of Europe after the war. I am grateful to Mr. President for a frank and honest conversation," Orban said.

In his turn, the Russian dictator said that Ukraine should have not just a truce or a ceasefire, but a complete end to the conflict.

"This should not be just a truce or a temporary ceasefire, or some kind of pause that the Kyiv regime could use to recover losses, regroup and rearm, Russia stands for a complete and final end to the conflict. This means the complete withdrawal of all Ukrainian troops from the Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions. There are other conditions, but this is a subject for detailed consideration in the course of possible joint work," Putin said.

At a press conference after the talks with the Hungarian prime minister, Putin noted that judging by what Orban said after his visit to Ukraine on July 2, "Kyiv is still not ready to give up the idea of waging war to a victorious end." 

Hungary's Orban arrives in Moscow

Earlier, the visit was reported by the Hungarian media Telex and, citing a statement by Orban's spokesman Bertalan Havasi.

The Hungarian prime minister came to the Russian capital on a "peacekeeping mission."  According to the outlets, Orban arrived in Moscow from Budapest on an Airbus A-319 government plane on Friday morning. 

The visit of the Hungarian prime minister was also reported by the Russian propaganda agency TASS.

This is Viktor Orban's first trip to Russia since the start of the full-scale war in Ukraine. The Hungarian prime minister last visited Moscow on February 1, 2022, but also met with the Russian president in China last October.

Hungarian government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs also said that as part of his "peacekeeping mission," Prime Minister Orban arrived in Moscow to meet with Vladimir Putin.

Later, Orban himself confirmed his visit to Russia by posting a message with a signature: "The peace mission continues. Second stop: Moscow."

Putin said that Orban had arrived in Moscow, in particular, as the head of the EU Council. He expects to discuss bilateral relations and the situation in Ukraine with Orban.

In addition, Putin asked Orban to inform him of Hungary's and the EU's position on the situation in Ukraine. In his turn, the Hungarian prime minister said that his country would soon become the only country in Europe that would be able to conduct a dialogue with both Russia and Ukraine.

TASS also published footage of the beginning of the talks between the Hungarian prime minister and the Russian leader.

After the open part of the meeting with Putin, Orban posted a photo from Moscow with a caption: "Peace must be achieved."

World leaders' response

Following the news of Orban's visit to Moscow, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen expressed her belief that appeasement will not stop Putin.

“Only unity and determination will pave the path to a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in Ukraine,” she emphasized.

Also, the head of the EU diplomacy, Josep Borrell, said that Orban's visit to Russia is “exclusively, in the framework of the bilateral relations between Hungary and Russia.”

He recalled that Hungary is now an EU member state that holds the rotating presidency of the EU Council until December 31, 2024, and stressed that this does not include any external representation of the EU, which is the responsibility of the President of the European Council at the level of the head of state or government, as well as the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy at the level of ministers.

Borrell emphasized that Orban had not received any mandate from the EU Council to visit Moscow.

“The EU position on Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine is reflected in many European Council conclusions. That position excludes official contacts between the EU and President Putin. The Hungarian Prime Minister is thus not representing the EU in any form," Borrell emphasized.

He also reminded that Russian leader Putin has been indicted by the International Criminal Court and issued an arrest warrant for his role in the forced deportation of children from Ukraine to Russia.

  • On July 2, Hungarian Prime Minister Orban arrived in the Ukrainian capital for talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. The meeting focused on Ukraine's peace plan.
  • Subsequently, rumors appeared in the media that Orban planned to visit Moscow after visiting Kyiv.
  • For his part, European Council President Charles Michel reminded that the EU presidency cannot interact with Russia on behalf of the bloc. Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk also reacted to the information about the Hungarian prime minister's trip to Moscow.
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