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Hungarian PM Orbán offers Zelenskyy to consider ceasefire to speed up peace talks

Hungarian PM Orbán visits Kyiv, suggests ceasefire with Russia to President Zelenskyy. They discuss EU cooperation, Peace Summit participation, bilateral relations, and opening the first Ukrainian school in Hungary.
hungarian pm orbán offers zelenskyy consider ceasefire speed up peace talks hungary's viktor ukraine's president volodymyr kyiv 2 july 2024 presidentgovua 0d4a0915b18d87d52b7da549c0575891_1719916468_extra_large
Hungary’s PM Viktor Orbán and Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv on 2 July 2024. Photo: president.gov.ua.
Hungarian PM Orbán offers Zelenskyy to consider ceasefire to speed up peace talks

During his first official visit to Ukraine since Russia’s full-scale invasion began, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has proposed that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy consider a ceasefire to accelerate peace negotiations with Russia.

Hungary, known as the EU’s most pro-Russian member, consistently opposes the union’s collective military aid to Ukraine. The country has refused to send weapons to Kyiv and remains the sole EU state maintaining ties with the Kremlin since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

At a joint press conference during his visit to Kyiv on 2 July, Orbán expressed respect for Zelenskyy’s peace formula but suggested it might take too long to implement, and stated,

“I asked Mr. President to think about whether it is not possible to go a little differently, take a break, cease fire and then start, continue the negotiations. After all, a cease-fire could ensure an acceleration of the pace of these negotiations.”

Orbán assured that during Hungary’s presidency of the European Union, which began on 1 July, they would “help in everything it can.”

Peace Summit and EU cooperation

President Zelenskyy thanked Hungary for participating in the first Peace Summit and supporting its communiqué. He said,

“Hungary took part in the first Peace Summit and supported the communiqué of the summit, and this speaks of Hungary’s readiness to be effective in order to return long-term security to our country and the entire region – Europe.”

Zelenskyy expressed hope for Budapest’s involvement in preparing the second summit, stating,

“We see an opportunity to organize a second summit this year. And we can do all the preparatory work for this in the coming months.”

The Ukrainian leader appreciated Orbán’s decision to visit Kyiv immediately after Hungary assumed the EU presidency, viewing it as an indication of European priorities.

Bilateral relations and global cooperation agreement

The leaders discussed various aspects of bilateral relations, including trade, cross-border cooperation, infrastructure, and energy issues. Orbán proposed signing a global cooperation agreement with Ukraine, similar to agreements Hungary has with other neighboring countries. He stated,

“We are trying to settle all previous disputes and focus on the future. We wish to establish relations between our countries.”

Zelenskyy suggested that a future bilateral document could be based on a mirror approach, allowing both nations to “enjoy all the benefits of unity in Europe.” The leaders agreed that their teams would continue working on the details of joint decisions.

As Hungary assumes the six-month rotating EU presidency, both leaders expressed hope for effective cooperation and progress in resolving existing difficulties. Zelenskyy emphasized the importance of Hungary’s presidency being effective for all of Europe.

Ukrainian school in Hungary

The Ukrainian and Hungarian leaders agreed to open the first Ukrainian-language school in Hungary. Orbán confirmed his support for this initiative, acknowledging the educational needs of Ukrainian refugees in Hungary. He said,

“Ukrainians were in Hungary before, but now there is a whole range of additional needs, we must take care of these people. Therefore, I am very happy to support the president’s initiative to open a Ukrainian school in Hungary.”

Security issues and Peace Formula

The meeting addressed security issues, international law, and the Peace Formula, as noted by Andrii Yermak, the head of the President’s Office. Yermak stated,

“Much has been done for this visit. An important conversation about the future of Europe, security, international law, and the Peace Formula.”

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