Putin, Orban discuss Ukraine, resumption of broad dialogue

  MOSCOW:  Russian President Vladimir Putin held talks in Moscow with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, the first Western leader to vis...

 


MOSCOW:  Russian President Vladimir Putin held talks in Moscow with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, the first Western leader to visit Russia since April 2022. The key issue of the discussions between the two leaders was Ukrainian settlement and the resumption of broad dialogue.

According to Putin, Russia is seeking an end to hostilities in Ukraine, but Kiev and its sponsors derail all peace proposals. Orban stated that the search for a peaceful solution should continue.

TASS has put together the highlights of the visit of the Hungarian prime minister to Moscow.

Putin on Ukraine-related peace initiatives

Russia remains open to "discussing a political and diplomatic" solution for Ukraine, but Kiev is unwilling to do so.

Kiev is still "not ready to give up the idea of waging war until a victorious end."

The Kiev regime does not allow itself to entertain the idea of a cessation of hostilities because in this case "the excuse for extending martial law would disappear" and the country would have to hold elections. But the chances of "the Ukrainian rulers, who have lost their ratings and legitimacy" to win them would be close to zero.

Western "sponsors" continue to try to "use this country and its people as a battering ram, a sacrifice in the confrontation with Russia."

The proposals about Ukraine, which were announced earlier, allow for the cessation of hostilities and the start of negotiations. Moreover, it should be "not just a truce or a temporary ceasefire, not some kind of pause" that Kiev could use to regroup. Russia is "in favor of a full and complete end to the conflict."

The main condition for a settlement in Ukraine is the complete withdrawal of Ukrainian troops from the Donetsk and Lugansk people's republics, and from the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions.

"There are other conditions, but this is all a subject for a fairly in-depth consideration in the course of possible joint work."

Putin on relations with Hungary, the EU

With Hungary holding the presidency of the Council of the European Union since July 1, there was an exchange of views on the state of affairs in Russia-EU relations, which "are currently at their lowest point."

Russia is grateful to Orban for visiting Moscow.

"We take it as an attempt to restore dialogue and give it some additional momentum."

Russia and Hungary continue to cooperate based on the principles of pragmatism and mutual benefit in a number of areas, primarily in the energy sector. For example, starting new units of the Russian nuclear power plant Paks in Hungary will provide consumers with inexpensive and clean energy.

Moscow and Budapest also maintain cooperation in medicine and the pharmaceutical industry.

Key statements by Hungarian prime minister

Over the past two years, it has become clear that a settlement will not be achieved without diplomacy.

"Peace will not come by itself, you have to work for it."

Hungary has become one of the very few countries in Europe that maintains contact with both Russia and Ukraine.

"That's why I was in Kiev this week, and that's why I'm in Moscow now".

The positions of the two countries are very far apart. It is necessary to "take very many steps to get closer to the end of the war."

Hungary is not going to "pay attention" to EU criticism for the visit to Moscow.

Circumstances of the visit

The visit was requested by Hungary. Orban arrived in Moscow shortly after his visit to Kiev on July 2. The Hungarian prime minister proposed to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky terms for a ceasefire, but the latter rejected them.

At the meeting in the Kremlin, Orban said 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," he said.

The Hungarian prime minister is the first Western leader to visit Russia since April 2022. Since the start of the special military operation in February 2022, only one other EU leader - Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer - has come to Russia for talks with Putin. Nehammer visited Moscow on April 11, 2022.

Orban himself is also not the first time in Moscow in the last two years, but his previous trip - on September 3, 2022 - was private as he attended the farewell ceremony for former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. He did not meet with the Russian president then. Putin and Orban met in October 2023 in Beijing on the sidelines of the Belt and Road Initiative forum.

Reaction to the talks

After Orban landed in Moscow, several European heads of state and government condemned his decision to travel to Russia. They included Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda, Latvian Prime Minister Evika Silina, and Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson.

The Euractiv news website cited European officials as saying that Orban had not informed the EU about his plans to travel to Moscow. One of the website’s sources said that if the Hungarian prime minister had approached Brussels about the matter, he would have been strongly advised to cancel the visit.

The European Commission joined the criticism of Orban's visit to Russia. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that Orban's actions are sending the wrong signal to Russia.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that the alliance’s member countries would discuss the results of the Hungarian prime minister's visit to Moscow at the summit in Washington in July.

Russian Security Council Deputy Chairman Dmitriy Medvedev said that the "hysteria" in Europe over the talks between Putin and Orban reaffirms that "the EU and their US masters need war, not peace."


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Putin, Orban discuss Ukraine, resumption of broad dialogue
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