Viktor Orbán calls on Volodymyr Zelensky to consider ceasefire with Russia — Novaya Gazeta Europe
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Viktor Orbán calls on Volodymyr Zelensky to consider ceasefire with Russia

Viktor Orbán and Volodymyr Zelensky. Photo: Zoltan Fischer / Hungarian PM press office handout

Viktor Orbán and Volodymyr Zelensky. Photo: Zoltan Fischer / Hungarian PM press office handout

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has called on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to consider a ceasefire deal with Russia during his one-day visit to Kyiv, independent Ukrainian media outlet European Pravda reported on Tuesday.

In his first visit to Ukraine since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion, which coincided with Hungary assuming the EU’s rotating presidency for the next six months, Orbán met with Zelensky for talks “on the chance to create peace,” according to Orbán’s press chief, who added that the two would also discuss Hungarian-Ukrainian relations.

At a joint press conference after the pair’s bilateral talks, Orbán asked Zelensky if it would be possible to initiate a ceasefire and begin negotiations with Russia, adding that a ceasefire would “speed up the pace of these negotiations” with Russia and help end the war in Ukraine.

During the press conference, Orbán stressed that he had not insisted on his ceasefire initiative and had accepted Zelensky’s counter arguments. “I am very grateful to the president for his frank opinion on this issue,” he said, promising to pass on what he heard to other EU leaders.

Zelensky avoided discussing the issue at the press conference but noted that Hungary had supported Ukraine’s peace initiatives at a summit in Switzerland in June and said that had shown Hungary’s “willingness to be effective” in returning “real long-term security”.

Despite Orbán’s reputation as Putin’s closest European ally and his repeated attempts to block EU aid to Ukraine, his talks with Zelensky appear to have been successful, with both leaders suggesting that progress towards future bilateral agreements had been made.

“We want to improve relations between our countries, we want to sign a global cooperation agreement with Ukraine, similar to the agreements that we have with other neighbours of Hungary,” Orbán said, adding that Hungary was prepared to support the modernisation of the Ukrainian economy and intended to help Ukraine during its presidency of the EU.

Zelensky also appeared to be optimistic about the chances of future agreements with Hungary, announcing on his Telegram channel that the content of Tuesday’s discussions could form the basis for an agreement between Hungary and Ukraine.

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