Viktor Orban Urges Zelensky For ‘Quick Ceasefire’ In First Visit Since War’s Start

July 2, 2024   |   Tags:
Viktor Orban Urges Zelensky For 'Quick Ceasefire' In First Visit Since War's Start

Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban is in Kiev for the first time since the Russian invasion, where he has urged Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky "to consider a quick ceasefire" in a private meeting.

Orban told a press briefing after: "I asked the president to think about whether we could approach this a little differently, to take a break, to cease fire, and then proceed with negotiations."

Via Reuters

So far, the assumption from Ukraine officials has been there has to be withdrawal of Russian forces from seized Ukrainian territory first, for negotiations leading to a truce to become reality. Orban is calling for an immediate ceasefire, which then creates conditions for serious negotiations toward permanent truce.

"A ceasefire connected to a deadline would give a chance to speed up peace talks. I explored this possibility with the president and I am grateful for his honest answers and negotiation," Orban continued.

Zelensky's office had earlier previewed the meeting by saying it will be a much-needed, important conversion "about the future of Europe, security, international law, and the Formula of Peace." It comes after last month's Swiss-hosted international Ukraine peace summit.

Orban agreed that "We would like to make the relationship between the two countries better,." He explained in Tuesday's press briefing, "We would like to make a broad bilateral agreement with Ukraine, similar to the ones we already made with our neighbors (in the past). We would be happy to take part in the modernization of Ukraine’s economy, we would like an ordered framework for this."

Hungary has been a lone NATO voice blocking at different times various pro-Ukraine initiatives. Orban's government has been especially vocal against Ukraine ever joining NATO, a policy which has resulted in Western press frequently calling the Hungarian leader a friend of Putin, or else "pro-Putin".

Budapest has also from the start been a lone voice urging muscular diplomacy by the West to end the war instead of constant escalation through weapons shipments and deepening military involvement. The Hungarian prime minister is the only European leader to have met with Putin after the war began, on a trip which occurred in the spring of 2022. CNN has declared Orban to be "Putin's greatest European ally". 

Below: Zelensky said that he and Orban discussed "how to bring about a just and lasting peace." In clip issued by the Presidential Office, Orban can be heard at the beginning of the meeting telling Zelensky that he wants to hear "your vision of the chances for peace."

But if Orban is trying to convince Zelensky to agree to ceasefire, Zelensky is surely hard at work seeking to lobby Orban to his side, given Hungary just assumed the rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

Hungary has often proven a final vote either blocking or approving billions in EU funding for Ukraine. For example in February, Orban finally relented and was the last EU member to agree to an additional 50-billion-euro ($54bn) aid package, previously blocked by the threat of a Hungarian veto.

By the close of this visit by Orban to Kiev, it is as yet unclear what Zelensky's response to the Hungarian leader was in terms of his proposal to immediately speed up peace. At this moment, the whole world is keenly aware that Ukrainian forces are depleted and exhausted, and that the conflict will have to eventually end at the negotiating table. But Kiev has long said a ceasefire or pause in fighting would only be used by Russia to re-arm and solidify hold on territory.

Tyler Durden Tue, 07/02/2024 - 13:05


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