What did Orban and Zelensky agree on in Kyiv?

This was Victor Orban's first visit to Ukraine since the invasion and aggression against Ukraine began

by Sededin Dedovic
What did Orban and Zelensky agree on in Kyiv?
© The Times and The Sunday Times / Youtube channel

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban have agreed to work on an agreement to resolve bilateral issues, reports European Pravda. The leaders of the two countries stated this on Tuesday after a meeting in Kyiv, reports European Pravda's correspondent.

In their discussion with reporters, the leaders emphasized that the meeting is an important step towards addressing long-standing issues. “The content of our dialogue on all current issues can serve as a basis for a future bilateral document between our states, which will regulate all our relations,” Zelensky said.

Viktor Orban also believes that the negotiations have brought the two countries closer to the possible signing of a new agreement. “We want to improve relations between our countries, and we want to sign an agreement on global cooperation with Ukraine, similar to the agreements we have with other neighbors of Hungary,” said the Hungarian Prime Minister.

Furthermore, he highlighted that Hungary is ready to support the modernization of the Ukrainian economy and intends to assist Ukraine during its presidency of the EU Council. “I wish Ukraine all the best, and during Hungary’s presidency, we will help you in every way we can,” added the Hungarian government head.

Orban's spokesperson Zoltan Kovacs wrote on the social network X ahead of the talks that they would focus on opportunities for achieving peace, as well as on issues in Hungarian-Ukrainian bilateral relations. The Guardian reports that on Tuesday the Kremlin downplayed the significance of Orban's visit to Kyiv, stating that nothing is expected from this trip.

Hungary on the defendant's bench

Never before in the EU has a presiding country had so many conflicts with Brussels. The government in Budapest is currently undergoing proceedings under Article 7 of the European treaties for violating the principles of the rule of law in that country.

The European Commission has also initiated several proceedings against Hungary for violating the norms of the rule of law. The European Court recently fined Hungary for failing to implement the common asylum and migration policy.

Viktor Orban said he was “appalled” by the ruling and announced he would not accept it. He added that all heads of state and government who think differently should be “driven away”.

Hungarys Orban urges Ukraine to call a ceasefire© The Times and The Sunday Times / Youtube channel

And now the defendant moves to the presiding position for six months – and is supposed to neutrally mediate for half a year.

Many observers in Brussels doubt that this is possible.

Hungary wants money

Especially delicate is the tension between Orban and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen regarding financial aid to Budapest. Despite rejecting many EU rules, Orban insists on the disbursement of funds from the Recovery Fund for pandemic consequences.

The EU has frozen 30 billion euros of financial aid due to a concrete risk of corruption in Hungary, as well as the assessment that Hungarian courts can no longer be considered independent. Some of this money has since been unfrozen.

This was done to “buy” Orban's support for additional financial and military aid to Ukraine, writes DW.

Hungary does not want to help Kyiv

Hungarian Minister for European Affairs Janos Boka has clearly told Ukraine not to expect quick progress on EU membership negotiations, which were formally opened on June 25.

During Hungary's presidency, none of the 35 negotiating chapters will be opened, he says. Budapest has been blocking financial aid to Kyiv wherever possible for some time. Currently, Hungary is resisting the sending of military aid worth 6.6 billion euros to Ukrainians.

Will Hungarians, in the second half of the year, as the country presiding over the Union, continue to insist on their veto on this issue? The Hungarian government has not yet provided a clear answer to this. Despite EU sanctions, the Hungarian Prime Minister maintains good economic relations with Russian companies, presenting himself during the European election campaign as a leader advocating for peace.

“We will not allow ourselves to be dragged into some kind of war, we will not allow ourselves to be forced to accept illegal migrants, and we certainly will not allow our children to be re-educated,” Orban said at a state holiday celebration in March.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said that the Hungarian leader is merely “fulfilling his duties” as part of the EU presidency. He added that Moscow had not been in contact with Budapest before Orban's trip to Kyiv.

Peskov also praised the Hungarian leader as a “politician who strongly defends the interests of his country”. Budapest has kept open channels with Moscow, and Orban's Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto has made at least five trips to Russia since the start of the war, the most recent to attend an economic forum in St.

Petersburg last month. A source in Budapest familiar with the matter said that Orban's plan to visit Kyiv emerged after lengthy negotiations on the rights of the Hungarian-speaking minority in western Ukraine, near the border of the two countries.