Home News Viktor Orban travels to Russia to meet with Vladimir Putin

Viktor Orban travels to Russia to meet with Vladimir Putin

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Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban Arrival in Moscow A rare visit by a Western leader to Russia on Friday quickly sparked discontent in the European Union.

Mr Orban is due to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in a few days After visiting Ukrainian President Zelensky In the Ukrainian capital of Kiev.

Orban’s spokesman said: Zoltan Kovacs said The Hungarian leader’s visit to Moscow is “part of his peace mission.” Putin’s spokesman Dmitri S. Peskov said the Russian president will discuss Ukraine, among other issues, with Orban, who has flown to Moscow on a working visit.

Orban, long a target of European disapproval for his support for far-right politics and autocrats such as Vladimir Putin, has said he wants to promote peace talks between Russia and Ukraine. Ukrainian leaders have refused to negotiate with Russia because they say Putin will only seek Ukraine’s subjugation.

This is the first time an EU leader has visited Russia to hold a formal meeting with Putin since the invasion of Ukraine. Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer Completed the trip April 2022.

This was Mr Orban’s first meeting with Mr Putin since October 2023, when the two sat down between meetings Beijing International Summit.

Orban’s visit was all the more provocative this week as Hungary takes over the rotating presidency of the European Union. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said he had no prior knowledge of Orban’s visit and noted that he did not represent the EU.

Josep Borrell Fontelles, the EU’s top diplomat issue a statement Hungarian President Vladimir Putin said Mr Orban’s visit to Moscow was entirely within the framework of bilateral relations between Hungary and Russia.

Borrell added that the Hungarian prime minister “does not therefore represent” the EU in any form.

When news of Orban’s quietly planned trip broke on Thursday — news that was not made public until his plane landed in Moscow on Friday — other EU officials were quick to condemn it.

“The EU presidency has no authority to engage with Russia on behalf of the EU,” said Charles Michel, president of the European Council, which represents the heads of member states’ governments.

“The European Council’s view is clear: Russia is the aggressor and Ukraine is the victim,” Michel said. Writing on social media“You can’t have a discussion about Ukraine without having the Ukraine issue.”

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk posted directly to Mr Orban on social media. “The rumours about your visit to Moscow cannot be true,” Mr Tusk wrote” “Or can they?

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, nearly all Western leaders have avoided meeting with Putin and instead sought to isolate him on the world stage.

However, leaders outside the West are not shy about sitting down with their Russian counterparts: Chinese leader Xi Jinping Meeting with Putin this week Kazakh Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to visit Moscow next week.

Christopher F. Schutz Contributed reporting.

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