Vladimir Putin and Viktor Orbán in Moscow – Photo: Kremlin

Orbán has talks about peace with Putin in Moscow

President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Viktor Orbán exchanged views in the Kremlin on how to resolve the war in Ukraine and develop bilateral relations. Orbán said in his greetings in front of the press that today's meeting with the Russian president was their fourteenth since 2009, adding that this one was "more special than the previous ones".

The prime minister also noted that he last visited Moscow in February 2022 before the start of the war, adding that Hungary has assumed the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union.

Orbán thanked the Russian president for receiving him “even under these difficult circumstances”. He said that Hungary was “slowly becoming the only country in Europe” that could speak to both warring sides.

The prime minister said he wanted to make use of this situation to discuss important matters with the Russian president and to gauge his stance on issues that are important for Europe.

Commenting on the impending closed-door part of the meeting, Putin said he hoped “that we will have the opportunity to exchange views on building bilateral relations in this difficult situation and, of course, to talk about the prospects for the development of the biggest European crisis, I mean in the Ukrainian direction”. The comments were carried live by Russian Rossiya 1 television.

Regarding finding a solution to the crisis in Ukraine, Putin added: “Of course, I am ready to discuss the details with you regarding this issue and I expect that you will also outline the position of your European partners.”

He also touched bilateral relations, regretting that trade turnover was down 35 percent. “All in all, we have work to do and we will realise the projects,” he added.

Peter Szijjarto, the foreign minister, and Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov, also attended the meeting.

Sarkozy: Orbán ‘doing the right thing’ to restore diplomatic channels

Viktor Orbán “is doing the right thing” in his attempts to restore diplomatic communication channels as part of efforts to end the war in Ukraine, former French president Nicolas Sarkozy said in an interview to Mandiner.

“The first step on the road to peace is to restore the communication channels,” Sarkozy said. Mandiner said Orbán had discussed his visit to Moscow with Sarkozy.

Menczer: Orbán on ‘peace mission’

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is a on a “peace mission”, Tamas Menczer, the communications director of the ruling Fidesz-Christian Democrat alliance, said. “A ceasefire is possible,” Menczer said on Facebook. “It is a matter of will. We have to talk about it and work for it.”

In a video message, Menczer said those who said a ceasefire and peace talks were impossible “are simply lying”.

“Why? Because a ceasefire is merely a matter of political decision which has to be made by politicians, whether it be Moscow, Washington, Kyiv or Brussels,” Menczer said. “And politicians can indeed make decisions, and they do. They can decide the direction they want to go in.”

“So a ceasefire and peace talks are a question of political decision which is definitely possible and a matter of will,” he added.

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