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Ukraine rejects Orban’s ceasefire proposal during Kyiv talks

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has dismissed Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s suggestion for a ceasefire, maintaining Kyiv’s stance against temporary halts in hostilities.
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:
Ukraine rejects Orban’s ceasefire proposal during Kyiv talks

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has rejected a suggestion from Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban to consider a ceasefire in Ukraine, according to a statement from Kyiv on 2 July.

Deputy Head of the Presidential Office Ihor Zhovkva told national TV that during meetings in the capital, Orban was given the “opportunity to express his thoughts,” but Zelenskyy maintained Ukraine’s established position in response.

“The President of Ukraine listened to him, but in response, he stated Ukraine’s position – clear, understandable, and well-known,” Zhovkva said.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Orban confirmed he had proposed a ceasefire to Zelenskyy. 

“I asked the president to think about whether we could reverse the order, and speed up peace talks by making a ceasefire first,” he stated.

The Hungarian Prime Minister argued that a time-limited ceasefire could accelerate peace negotiations. 

“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 negotiations,” Orban said.

Kyiv has previously rejected the idea of a temporary halt to hostilities, arguing it would only allow Russia to regroup its forces.

Despite the disagreement on the ceasefire proposal, both leaders characterized their meeting as productive. 

“The content of our talks today can become the basis for a future bilateral agreement between our states, which will regulate our relations,” Zelenskyy said.

“We want to establish relations between our countries and to sign a cooperation agreement with Ukraine similar to those Hungary has already signed with other neighbors,” Orban said.

The meeting took place as Hungary assumed the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union, a move that has sparked controversy due to Budapest’s stance on various Ukraine-related issues. Some European officials have called for Hungary’s presidency to be suspended.

Throughout the full-scale war, Hungary has opposed Ukraine’s accession to NATO and the EU, resisted sanctions on Russia, and maintained close relations with Moscow. These positions have strained relations between Ukraine and Hungary.

Despite these tensions, Zelenskyy acknowledged Hungary’s participation in Ukraine’s peace initiatives.

“Hungary took part in the first Peace Summit and supported the communiqué of the summit, and this indicates Hungary’s readiness to be effective for the return of real long-term security,” he said.

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