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Kiev outraged over Orban’s visit to Moscow

The Ukrainian authorities have complained that the Hungarian prime minister did not coordinate his trip with them

Kiev has expressed outrage over Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s surprise trip to Russia, complaining that Ukrainian authorities were not informed of the visit beforehand.

Orban landed in Moscow on Friday morning and met with Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss ways to establish an immediate ceasefire and begin peace talks to resolve the Ukraine conflict.

Earlier this week, he also traveled to Kiev to meet with Vladimir Zelensky and held similar discussions.

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has complained on its official website that Orban’s decision to travel to Moscow was “made by the Hungarian side without approval or coordination with Ukraine.” It stressed that Kiev is against any negotiations regarding the conflict without its direct participation.

“We remind that the principle of ‘no agreements on Ukraine without Ukraine’ remains inviolable for our country and call on all states to strictly adhere to it,” the ministry’s statement read. Zelensky’s ‘peace formula’ is “the only realistic way to restore a just peace,” it added.

Orban’s trip to Moscow has also been criticized by other Western leaders. Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas accused the Hungarian prime minister of “sowing confusion” and exploiting the rotating EU presidency, which Budapest assumed at the start of July.

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Vladimir Zelensky (R) shakes hands with Viktor Orban after delivering a press conference in Kiev, Ukraine, July 2, 2024
Orban pitches ‘quick ceasefire’ to Zelensky

European Council President Charles Michel has also condemned Orban’s trip, suggesting that Hungary has “no mandate to engage with Russia on behalf of the EU,” and stressing that “no discussions about Ukraine can take place without Ukraine.”

Orban, however, has insisted that he does not need a mandate to seek peace and pointed out that Hungary has relatively limited political clout and is not formally holding negotiations.

“We can be a good tool in the hands of God, we can be a good tool in the hands of people who want peace,” the prime minister said. He explained that he hopes to convince Moscow and Kiev of the need to work together in order to achieve a ceasefire and initiate peace talks.

Meanwhile, Kiev has continued to insist on Zelensky’s peace plan, which consists of ten steps that include the full withdrawal of Russian forces from territories Kiev claims as its own, reparation payments, and an international war crime tribunal for the Russian leadership.

Moscow has vehemently rejected Zelensky’s plan as a non-starter, insisting that any negotiations to resolve the conflict must take into account the “realities on the ground.”


July 05, 2024 at 07:05PM

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