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Orban not enough to ‘end this war’ – Zelensky

Only the US, EU or China can help to end the conflict with Russia, the Ukrainian leader has said

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban doesn’t have the clout required to negotiate an end to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, according to Vladimir Zelensky. The Ukrainian leader said he would rather see the US, EU or China in that role.

Orban visited Kiev last week and proposed a ceasefire that Zelensky rejected. He has since gone to Moscow and Beijing, ahead of a NATO summit in Washington.

“As for whether he can be a mediator, there is no mediating between Russia and Ukraine,” Zelensky said on Monday, during a joint press conference with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk in Warsaw. 

“Only serious, strong alliances can act as go-betweens,” Zelensky added. According to him, the conflict won’t end through mediation, but when a power with a strong economy and a strong military can pressure Russia into giving up.

“Are there many such countries in the world? A few. I think the US is one. I think China, and the EU,” Zelensky said. “Not just one country, but the entire European Union.”

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Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban shakes hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin during a meeting in Moscow on July 5, 2024
Orban’s surprise visit to Moscow sparks fury in Brussels: Key takeaways from Hungarian PM’s ‘peace mission’

Hungary took over the rotating presidency of the EU in July. The bloc’s top officials disavowed and denounced Orban’s diplomatic mission as a rogue operation, insisting that the EU “stands with Ukraine” and does not intend to negotiate with Russia. Kiev has likewise protested that Orban’s trip to Moscow was undertaken “without approval or coordination with Ukraine.”

Tusk, who hosted Zelensky on Monday to sign a security pact, joined the criticism of Orban’s shuttle diplomacy.

“No one has the right to decide on the shape of a future peace on behalf of Ukraine, without Ukraine,” Tusk told reporters. “No one has the right to act on behalf of Poland, or the entire EU, without full agreement with Ukraine and all of us, when it comes to potential talks with Moscow.”

Orban has shrugged off criticism by pointing out that he doesn’t need anyone’s mandate to speak directly to the parties in the conflict.

On Monday, the Hungarian PM sat down with Chinese President Xi Jinping, who praised his efforts to resolve the Russia-Ukraine conflict. The positions of Beijing and Budapest overlap to a great degree when it comes to the issue of Ukraine, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said after the meeting.

July 09, 2024 at 03:26AM

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