Ukraine-Hungary talks: Zelensky comments on Orban’s ceasefire proposal

Ukraine's President Zelensky and Hungarian Prime Minister Orban.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has commented on a proposal from Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban during his visit to Ukraine for an immediate ceasefire.

Zelensky stated in an interview with Bloomberg TV that “it is not enough to just talk about a ceasefire; a plan is needed.”.

“In principle, we cannot trust Putin, because for us he is a murderer and an aggressor. It is important that Hungary recognize that Russia is an aggressor and recognizes the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine,” Zelensky said.

He emphasized that Ukraine had held “hundreds of meetings” since the Minsk agreements regarding the ceasefire, all of which Russia had disrupted.

“Thus, only trusted nations and leaders can attend on an international platform. They disagree on how to end the war, but we must all trust each other,” Zelensky explained.

He claimed that it’s important to comprehend that Russia won’t utilize the ceasefire to amass weapons in the occupied territory if Ukraine, constrained by the ceasefire’s conditions, doesn’t stop it through strikes.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban acknowledged that Zelensky had rejected his proposed “truce” between Ukraine and Russia with a freeze on the current front line.

According to the Hungarian Prime Minister, the Ukrainian president said that he doubted the logic of his plan and did not support it because Ukraine had a disappointing experience with attempts to negotiate a truce with Russia.

In his press statements after the bilateral talks, Orban said that he had offered Zelensky an immediate ceasefire on the current line of contact with Russian troops, which, in his opinion, would have accelerated peace talks.

Orban added that he did not insist on his initiative and accepted the Ukrainian arguments.

Later, in an interview with a pro-Putin journalist who arrived in Kyiv with the Hungarian delegation and interviewed Orban after the meetings, the Hungarian leader confirmed the assumption that Zelensky had rejected his idea of an “immediate truce.”

The Hungarian delegation included Roger Köppel, the editor-in-chief, publisher, and key author of the Swiss website and weekly Die Weltwoche, which is part of our investigation of pro-Kremlin media in Switzerland. This is not a very popular outlet, but Orban has already interviewed him several times. Köppel says that Orban personally invited him to come to Kyiv. 

Köppel had previously been a guest of the German-language edition of the Russian propaganda broadcaster RT until it was closed, and in 2023 he traveled to Russia to interview the Kremlin TV propaganda anchor Soloviev and the children’s rights commissioner Lvova-Belova, who, along with Putin, are wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes. In his publication, he systematically defends Putin’s regime.

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