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We need a ceasefire in Ukraine – Orban

The Hungarian PM has said he is making efforts towards reaching a diplomatic solution to the conflict between Kiev and Moscow

Ukraine’s path to peace and security could lie in establishing a buffer zone next to the Russian border, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has said. With the conflict between Moscow and Kiev in its third year, the Western flow of military and financial aid to Ukraine is dwindling, while its army is losing ground.

Orban suggested that now is the time for a ceasefire, Hungarian magazine Mandiner wrote on Friday, quoting the prime minister’s interview with former Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schussel in Budapest.

There is no remaining “reasonable dispute between Russia and the West,” Orban added.

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“People in Europe are not happy that their governments want to provide more financial assistance to Ukraine,” he said, explaining that Europe cannot provide the kind of support that would result in a military victory for Ukraine. EU states have allocated €77 billion ($83 billion) in aid to Kiev, while pledging €144 billion since the beginning of the conflict in February 2022, according to Germany’s Kiel Institute.

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Ukraine has lost several strategically important cities in Donbass in the last month. Officials in Kiev have repeatedly cited the lack of Western-supplied munitions as the reason for their battlefield setbacks.

Orban doubled down on his idea of a buffer zone next to the Russian border as Ukraine’s ideal peace solution, provided there are “additional security guarantees.” Without this, he said, “they could lose their country.”

He stressed that Russia will never accept Ukraine joining NATO. Moscow has stated that one of the main causes of the conflict was the expansion of the US-led military bloc towards Russia’s borders.

President Vladimir Putin has said one of the key goals of the Russian military operation is to force Kiev away from its goal of joining NATO – an ambition enshrined in the country’s constitution in 2019. While the Hungarian prime minister condemned the Russian military operation, he has repeatedly spoken out against the EU’s handling of it. Unlike the other EU states, Hungary has not sent any armaments to Kiev, limiting their contributions to humanitarian aid.

March 30, 2024 at 12:17PM

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