Putin’s Hungarian best friend Orban attracts EU ire over ‘peace challenge’ to Moscow


Russia’s President Vladimir Putin meets with Hungary’s High Minister Viktor Orban on the Kremlin in Moscow on July 5, 2024. 

Valery Sharifulin | Afp | Getty Photographs

Russia’s closest Ecu best friend, Hungarian High Minister Viktor Orban, has drawn ire from the EU over his Friday shuttle to satisfy Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin in Moscow.

Orban, whose nation assumed the EU’s rotating presidency on July 1, is a self-declared “peacemaker” whose management has again and again adversarial — however most commonly allowed to move — EU and NATO army and fiscal support measures in improve of war-torn neighbor Ukraine.

Hungary has retained running members of the family with Russia regardless of maximum different Western international locations totally chopping ties with the country in keeping with its February 2022 invasion. Environment a landmark precedent, NATO remaining month agreed to permit Budapest’s nonparticipation within the coalition’s deepening improve of Ukraine — in change for Hungary now not blocking off such projects.

Hungary will quickly develop into the one nation in Europe in a position to hold out discussion with each Russia and Ukraine, Orban informed Putin throughout the Friday seek advice from, in step with feedback reported by way of Reuters and Russian state information company Tass.

The shuttle to Moscow is the second one prevent on Orban’s self-described “peace challenge,” after the Hungarian chief performed his first wartime seek advice from to Ukraine on Tuesday to satisfy President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

After the engagement, Zelenskyy mentioned the pair had held talks over “probably the most elementary problems with our neighborly members of the family – business, cross-border cooperation, infrastructure, and effort,” and famous that the discussion may set the root for “a brand new bilateral record” between the 2 countries.

Orban additionally stressed out Budapest’s intentions to give a boost to ties with Ukraine, whilst calling on Zelenskyy to believe a cease-fire within the hostilities with Russia in a bid to boost up peace talks, Reuters reported.

“You can not make peace from a comfy armchair in Brussels,” Orban mentioned Friday in a social media publish. “Even supposing the rotating EU-Presidency has no mandate to barter on behalf of the EU, we can not sit down again and look forward to the conflict to miraculously finish. We will be able to function a very powerful software in making the primary steps in opposition to #peace. That is what our peace challenge is set.”

A number of peace projects had been floated — together with Zelenskyy’s 10-point plan, a Chinese language proposal and Putin’s personal prerequisites to entertain negotiations — with out gaining traction.

The Ukrainian International Ministry mentioned Kyiv used to be now not prompt of Orban’s shuttle to Moscow, which used to be made “with out settlement or coordination with Ukraine,” in step with a Google-translated observation.

“We remind you that for our nation the primary of ‘no agreements on Ukraine with out Ukraine’ stays inviolable and we name on all international locations to strictly adhere to it,” the Ukrainian overseas ministry mentioned, including that the “simplest real looking option to repair a simply peace” stays Zelenskyy’s peace system.

Orban’s shuttle to Moscow has additionally drawn the wrath of Ecu officers, who puzzled his authority to constitute the bloc.

EU leader diplomat Josep Borrell on Friday mentioned the shuttle falls “solely, within the framework of the bilateral members of the family between Hungary and Russia,” stressing that Orban does now not constitute the Ecu bloc on this engagement.

Additionally referencing Orban’s seek advice from, Ecu Fee President Ursula von der Leyen warned that “appeasement won’t prevent Putin. Handiest cohesion and resolution will pave the trail to a complete, simply and lasting peace in Ukraine.”

Beneath the EU’s tips, the bloc’s rotating six-month presidency “chairs conferences at each and every degree within the Council, serving to to make sure the continuity of the EU’s paintings within the Council.”

Orban assumed the publish previous this week with a purpose to “make Europe nice once more” — a tagline paying homage to the 2016 marketing campaign slogan of former U.S. President Donald Trump. 

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