Putin After Meeting with Orban: No Break, We Seek a Permanent End to the War

Strong reactions from the EU were caused by the visit of the Hungarian PM to the Kremlin, and almost all senior EU officials clarified that this does not represent the position of Brussels. Putin demands an end to the war, but under what conditions?

by Sededin Dedovic
Putin After Meeting with Orban: No Break, We Seek a Permanent End to the War
© BBC News / Youtube channel

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban stated that "it is precisely the bureaucratic nonsense from Brussels that has not yielded any results in establishing peace in the Russo-Ukrainian war." "If we want to end the war, we need a political approach instead of a bureaucratic one," Orban said on the platform "X," commenting on a tweet by the EU's chief diplomat, Josep Borrell.

Borrell had previously written on the platform X that Orban's visit to Moscow falls solely under the bilateral relations between Hungary and Russia. The EU's chief diplomat, Josep Borrell, stated that Orban did not receive any mandate from the EU Council for his visit to Russia and noted that Brussels excludes official contacts with Moscow.

High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell© Michael M. Santiago / Getty Images

"The positions of the European Council (EUCO) regarding Russia's war against Ukraine exclude official contacts between the EU and Vladimir Putin.

Therefore, Prime Minister Orban does not represent the EU," Borrell emphasized. Earlier in Moscow, after talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Orban said that Hungary views its six-month presidency of the European Union as a peace mission.

He promised to continue working with Russia and Ukraine to achieve peace, saying in Moscow after visiting Kyiv that the positions of the parties on the agreement are far apart.

Putin: We are not advocating for a pause in the Ukraine war but for a final end to the conflict.

Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that Russia is not advocating for any ceasefire or pause in the Ukraine war but for a complete and final end to the conflict. "We have always taken the position that we are for a diplomatic resolution of the conflict, but from the opposing side, we constantly hear that they do not want the conflict to be resolved in this way, while the sponsors of the conflict seek to use the Ukrainian people as a victim in the fight against Russia," Putin said at a press conference after the meeting with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban in Moscow, reported (pro-Putin media) Sputnik.

The meeting between Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and Russian President Vladimir Putin, held today in Moscow, sparked numerous negative reactions in the West. White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre stated that the US administration's stance is that Orban's visit to Moscow will not contribute to resolving the crisis in Ukraine.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre speaks© Alex Wong / Getty Images

"We are concerned about the fact that Prime Minister Orban decided to visit Moscow. That visit does not contribute to peace and is counterproductive in terms of promoting the sovereignty, integrity, and independence of Ukraine," she said.

In this regard, the US ambassador to Hungary, David Pressman, assessed that Orban's visit to Moscow is "about utility, not peace, and that it is a great disservice to Hungarians and Hungary's relations with its allies." In his opinion, Orban will not have the right to call himself a peacemaker as long as he does not demand that "Russia ceases combat actions in Ukraine, respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of that country."

Negative reactions in the EU

The European Commission joined the criticisms of Viktor Orban's visit to Russia, calling it "wrong." The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and Commission spokesperson Eric Mamer stated that "peace will not stop Russia, only unity and determination will."

Dissatisfaction in Germany

Dissatisfaction was also expressed in Germany.

The Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Bundestag, Michael Roth, believes that Hungary should resign from the EU Council presidency, which was transferred to Budapest for six months starting July 1. "The fact that Orban shamefully abuses his presidency of the EU Council and goes to the Kremlin without a mandate is a scandal.

He undermines the fundamental principles of EU foreign policy. Either the Hungarian government respects its current role in the EU, or it must resign," Roth wrote on social media. Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto, who accompanied Orban on his working visit to Russia, told reporters in the Russian capital that Hungary is a sovereign state and does not intend to pay attention to Western criticism.

He also assessed that Orban's talks with Putin will contribute to finding a solution to the Ukrainian crisis. Putin and Orban's negotiations were held on Friday in the Kremlin and lasted for more than two and a half hours.

The Hungarian Prime Minister's visit was the first visit by a Western leader to Russia since April 2022. The visit was initiated by Budapest. Ukraine considers its 10-point peace plan and the recent international conference based on it as the only realistic path and notes that Orban's visit to Moscow was not coordinated with Kyiv.

"We remind you that we remain steadfast in our principle of 'no agreement about Ukraine without Ukraine,' and we call on all states to strictly adhere to this," the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said.