Vladimir Putin presents his ultimatum for peace in Ukraine to Viktor Orban

Vladimir Putin reiterated that he has always been open to negotiations and a peace agreement with Ukraine.

by Sead Dedovic
Vladimir Putin presents his ultimatum for peace in Ukraine to Viktor Orban
© Hannah Peters/Getty Images News

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban have had a strong relationship for a long time. Orban has been a huge supporter of Putin since the beginning of the conflict, and even before. The two leaders met yesterday in the Kremlin and held a press conference.

The main topic, of course, was the war in Ukraine, a war that has attracted attention since the beginning, and a war that causes fear in everyone. Just like in every war, and this war, the imperative is trying to put peace and conflict resolution between two countries. Since the beginning of the war, Russia and Ukraine have not been able to speak a common language, having maintained the same policy and position for more than two years.

Putin has appeared in the media many times saying that he wants peace, but under special conditions to which the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, has so far refused to agree. However, it seems that things could be moving in a more positive direction.

Vladimir Putin reiterated that he has always been open to negotiations and a peace agreement with Ukraine, but he believes that Ukrainians are not ready for diplomatic and political solutions. The Russian leader is uncertain how open Ukrainians are to resolving issues peacefully.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban
Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban© Sean Gallup / getty Images

Hungary is a close friend of Russia, and based on yesterday's press conference, Hungary could potentially become a mediator in peace agreements between Ukraine and Russia. Prime Minister Orban recently met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Putin noted. Putin also confirmed that Orban proposed an immediate ceasefire to the Ukrainian president, followed by negotiations. However, Vladimir Putin is unsure how willing Zelenskyy is for peace, believing that the Ukrainian leader does not want any agreement and prefers to prolong the situation to remain in power.

The Russian president admitted that Russia intends to end the conflict, viewing Russian proposals as crucial for resolving the conflict. Some interpret Putin's words as a desire for a leadership role in these negotiations, expecting him to take the lead and orchestrate a peace agreement. On the other hand, supporters of Vladimir Putin believe he has the right to such a role.

Vladimir Putin emphasized his earlier statements and openness to peace agreements. He reiterated that he maintains the same stance, desiring peace and an end to the conflict. However, the conditions Putin has set are not satisfactory to Ukraine's leadership, considering his terms unacceptable.

"I'm sure you've heard my address to the leadership of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs recently in Moscow. In it, I described our position regarding a potential peace settlement to end the conflict. Of course, I am ready to discuss all its aspects with you," Putin said.

Putin mid-last month outlined the conditions under which peace could be achieved between Russia and Ukraine. The Russian leader's first ultimatum was that Ukrainian forces must withdraw from the territory of four regions he declared as parts of Russia: Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson. However, this is not the only condition President Putin has set, emphasizing that Ukrainians must also refrain from joining NATO or pursuing their candidacy. Putin acknowledged that he and Orban discussed improving relations between Russia and Europe, particularly regarding security architecture. The Russian leader views these negotiations as beneficial and important for his country.

Andriy Yermak reacts

Andriy Yermak, head of the Ukrainian president's office, confirmed last month that Ukrainians are not ready to compromise when it comes to territorial integrity. Yearmak pointed out that ultimatums do not apply to Ukrainians, showing on the battlefield the previous two years. Although the Ukrainian authorities have admitted that they want to negotiate with Russia, they want peace, it seems that the conditions that Putin sets are unacceptable for them. 

Some other important figures in Ukrainian politics are shocked by Putin's conditions, considering them unacceptable. Although the intentions of the Ukrainians are for the war to become a thing of the past, and for peace to reign, agreeing to such conditions is considered suicide.

“There will be no compromise on independence or territorial integrity. Ultimatums don't work with Ukraine, and our people proved that on the battlefield in the past two years,”- Yermak said.

Looking at the statements of Putin, but also of the Ukrainian side, there is little chance that they can find a common language. Putin also aims to maintain positive relations with countries like Hungary, believing that strong partnerships are a guarantee of the country's stability. The Russian leader is looking for partners around the world, he wants to cultivate a more open policy, but the question is how much he will succeed in this. Some believe that it is too late for that, especially because of what is happening in Ukraine.

Vladimir Putin Ukraine Viktor Orban