Written by 11:51 World

Hungary’s Viktor Orban Travels to Russia for Meeting With Vladimir Putin

Prime Minister Viktor Orban of Hungary met with President Vladimir V. Putin at the Kremlin on Friday, a rare trip to Russia by a Western leader and one that quickly stirred consternation in the European Union.

Mr. Orban made the trip three days after visiting President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine in Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital. And it was the same week that Hungary took over the European Union’s rotating presidency, prompting other European leaders to quickly declare that Mr. Orban was not representing them in Moscow.

A spokesman for Mr. Orban, Zoltan Kovacs, said the Hungarian leader was in Moscow “as part of his peace mission.” Mr. Orban has made vague calls for a cease-fire and direct negotiations between Moscow and Kyiv, a stance that leaders in both countries have rejected. He has publicly put forward no concrete plan for a settlement.

Mr. Putin and Mr. Orban met for more than two hours, but there were no signs that the talks had done anything to influence Mr. Putin. The Hungarian leader appeared to acknowledge as much, telling reporters afterward that the positions of Kyiv and Moscow “are very far apart.”

Mr. Putin standing next to Mr. Orban after their meeting, signaled he was not budging from the sweeping demands he made of Ukraine last month.

At the time, Mr. Putin said in a speech to Russian diplomats that he would be ready for a cease-fire only if Ukraine withdrew troops from the four regions that Moscow has claimed as its own and dropped its aspirations to join NATO.

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Last modified: 6 July 2024
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