EU officials condemn Orban's planned meeting with Putin following trip to Ukraine

Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the EU, has reportedly planned a visit to Moscow to meet Russian president Vladimir Putin. Investigative journalist Szabolcs Panyi reported the trip, which RFE/RL later confirmed.

Orban is due to arrive in Russia on Friday, days after meeting Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv. EU officials have publicly condemned the move, calling it contradictory to the EU's current policy towards Russia.

European Council president Charles Michel said on X: "The EU rotating presidency has no mandate to engage with Russia on behalf of the EU. The European Council is clear: Russia is the aggressor, Ukraine is the victim. No discussions about Ukraine can take place without Ukraine."

Polish prime minister Donald Tusk also questioned Orban about his motives via a post asking him to confirm that the "rumours" were not true.

Earlier this week, Orban presented Zelensky with a ceasefire proposal aimed at pausing fighting with Russia. The talks, which came one day after Hungary took over the rotating presidency of the EU, were notable because of Orban’s ongoing criticism of Western military aid for Ukraine.

“The aim of the Hungarian presidency is to contribute to solving the challenges ahead of the European Union. That’s why my first trip was to Kyiv,” Orban wrote on Facebook after he arrived on Tuesday.

Zelensky and his deputy chief of staff, Ihor Zhovkva, listened to Orban's proposal but stated Ukraine's "quite clear, understandable and known" position in response.

Orban's last visit to Moscow was in September 2022, when he paid his respects at the funeral of former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev.


Viktor Orban and Vladimir Putin meet at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, October 2023 © PHOTO SIPA USA

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