Brussels, Oct 26 (EFE).- Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban on Thursday hailed his ties with Russian president Vladimir Putin, saying he wants to promote peace in Ukraine.
Hungary is one of the only European Union member states to have avoided publicly denouncing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, while Orban has condemned Western sanctions against Moscow.
“Russia and Hungary have a common neighbor called Ukraine and we have a peace strategy, so we would like to keep all the communication channels,” Orban told reporters upon his arrival at a two-day EU leaders’ summit in Brussels, adding that Hungary’s strategy differs from the “majority” in the EU.
“You have a war strategy, we have a peace strategy,” Orban said, adding that keeping communication channels with Moscow open was the only way to secure a peace deal.
“This is our strategy, and we are proud of it. We are the only ones who are speaking on behalf and in favor of peace,” the Hungarian leader said, adding that he was in favor of a ceasefire between Russia and Ukraine.
Orban, in power since 2010 having previously served from 1998 to 2002, also said he was waiting for a Ukrainian delegation to come to Budapest to negotiate withdrawing the definitive sanctions on the Russian entity of the Hungarian bank OTP before lifting his veto on the disbursement of 500 million euros from the European Peace Support Fund through which the EU finances arms shipment to Kyiv.
Orban’s statements come after he met with Putin last week in Beijing during the summit of the China’s Belt and Road Initiative (also known as the New Silk Road).
Spain prime minister Pedro Sanchez, whose country currently holds the rotating EU council presidency, said it was “very important that this summit yields a clear and unequivocal message of support for Ukraine in the face of the aggression that is undermining the principles and articles of the UN Charter, namely those of territorial integrity, the sovereignty of nations and the right of people to choose their own future.”
Lithuanian Prime Minister Gitanas Nauseda, meanwhile, noted that the EU “has no right to war fatigue” in Ukraine, “something very important right now that I see some countries starting to establish a kind of special diplomacy with the regime whose army is committing atrocities.” EFE