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Putin Thanks Orbán for Reopening Dialogue and Restates His June 14 Basis for Peace

Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin each made statements at a joint press conference today, following several hours of their discussions, which included aides and their Foreign Ministers Lavrov and Szijjarto. Putin began, noting the importance of maintaining “a dialogue even in the current difficult geopolitical situation.... [W]e had a truly useful and sincere conversation on topical issues of bilateral cooperation and also, naturally, on the acute issues on the international and regional agenda, including developments around Ukraine.”

After citing the “healthy pragmatism and mutual benefit” of their mutual projects, in particular in the energy area, Putin said: “Work is underway on our flagship joint project to expand the Paks Nuclear Power Plant. Putting into operation the fifth and sixth units will more than double the capacity of the station, hence improving the energy supply of the Hungarian economy and powering industrial enterprises and households with cheap and clean energy.... We continue working together in medicine and pharmaceutical industry….

“Of course, a substantive, direct and honest discussion was held on pressing international issues, including the Ukraine conflict and possible ways to settle it. Mr. Prime Minister told me about his recent meetings in Kyiv, where he advanced a number of proposals, among them a call for a ceasefire to create conditions for peace negotiations with Moscow.

“As for Russia, I have repeatedly said that we remain open for a discussion on a political and diplomatic settlement. However, the opposite side only makes clear its reluctance to resolve this issue in this manner. Ukraine’s sponsors continue using this country and its people as a ram, making it a victim in the confrontation with Russia.

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