Zelenskyy, Hungary’s Orban discuss Ukraine’s peace efforts

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President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Tuesday said he had urged Hungary’s Moscow-friendly prime minister Viktor Orban to join Ukraine’s efforts to bring peace after Russia’s 2022 invasion.

Zelenskyy said in his evening address that during talks with Orban he had talked about Kyiv’s steps to bring peace in conjunction with international partners, adding: “I invited Hungary and Prime Minister Orban to join the relevant efforts.”

Orban said that Budapest valued Ukraine’s peace initiatives, but asked Zelenskyy to consider pushing for a ceasefire that could accelerate peace talks.

“I asked the president to consider whether... a quick ceasefire could speed up the peace talks,” the Hungarian leader told a press conference alongside Zelenskyy, adding that the ceasefire he envisions would be time bound.

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Orban made his first wartime visit to Ukraine on Tuesday and standing next to Zelenskyy, appealed to Kyiv to work towards a “quick ceasefire”.

Ukraine has repeatedly rejected calls for a pause in fighting, which it says would just give Russia time to regroup for a fresh assault.

Zelenskyy noted in a video address posted on social media that Orban was making his first visit “in many years” and said this was a significant trip as it “comes right after Hungary’s EU presidency begins”.

“This is a clear signal of how important it is for all of us in Europe to remain united and take joint steps,” Zelenskyy said.

Unlike many other European leaders, Orban had not visited Kyiv since Russia invaded in February 2022 and is widely seen as the 27-member bloc’s most pro-Russian leader.

The Ukrainian president said that during his talks with Orban, he had thanked international participants in a peace summit in Switzerland last month and talked about preparations for a second one.

“I spoke about what we have already achieved with our partners in the work between the summits, preparing for the second Peace Summit. There are good developments, and there will be even more,” Zelenskyy said.

With agencies

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