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Hungary’s Orbán Proposes to Ukraine’s Zelenskyy a ‘Quick Ceasefire’ To Catalyze Peace Discussions

Hungarian PM Viktor Orban calls for peace. Credit: European Union

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, one day after Hungary assumed the European Council presidency, made a surprise visit to Kiev today to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Afterwards he stated that he had proposed to Zelenskyy that an immediate ceasefire tied to a deadline would kick real negotiations forward.

Since the beginning of Russia’s special military operation on Feb 24, 2022, Prime Minister Orbán has steadfastly refused to permit Hungary to fund or send military weapons to Ukraine, despite significant EU and NATO pressure on him to do so. On May 3, on a morning talk show on Kossuth Radio, Orbán warned: “Europe is playing with fire. I am not saying that European leaders are marching toward a war, but, every day, they are taking more steps in that direction.” This, despite “the majority of people favoring peace.” He continued, “We did not want to take part in either World War I or World War II. And we will not allow the Hungarians to be drawn into a third world war…. We are balancing on the brink of war and peace.”

Yesterday, on the day that Orbán and Hungary assumed the six-month presidency of the European Council, he said, in an interview that was broadcast on, Hungarian public television, that the greatest opportunity in Hungary’s EU Council presidency will be a chance “to take Europe closer to peace,” and that this would the focus of Hungary’s work. Europe must be prepared, he said, for a situation where “sooner or later the Americans and the Russians hold talks.”

At today’s joint press conference, Orbán declared that “peace is important not only for Ukraine, but for the whole of Europe,” the July 2 Budapest Times reports. “The ways of international diplomacy are slow and complicated…. I put to the President [of Ukraine] that we should consider whether the order may be reversed by speeding up peace talks with a quick ceasefire. A ceasefire tied to the deadline, which could offer the opportunity to accelerate peace talks; I have assessed the options for that scenario.”

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