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Zelensky Not Interested In Orban’s Ceasefire Deal

ADH Staff WriterJuly 3, 2024

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has rejected Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s proposal for a ceasefire to “speed up peace talks,” according to a statement from Kyiv on July 2.

Deputy Head of the Presidential Office, Ihor Zhovkva, revealed on national television that Orban had been allowed to express his thoughts during their meetings in the capital. “The President of Ukraine listened to him, but in response, he stated Ukraine’s position – clear, understandable, and well-known,” Zhovkva said.

Kyiv has previously dismissed the idea of a temporary cessation of hostilities, arguing that it would merely allow Russia to regroup its forces. Instead, Ukraine organized a global peace summit in Switzerland in June, which notably excluded Russia, to discuss potential steps toward peace.

After meeting with Zelensky, Orban told reporters that they had discussed the possibility of a ceasefire. “I asked the president to think about whether we could reverse the order and speed up peace talks by making a ceasefire first,” he stated. “A ceasefire connected to a deadline would give a chance to speed up peace talks. I explored this possibility with the president and I am grateful for his honest answers and negotiations.”

While acknowledging Ukraine’s peace efforts, Orban criticized their pace, saying they take “too long.”

Orban’s visit to Ukraine, his first since the start of the full-scale invasion, coincides with Hungary’s assumption of the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union. This has generated controversy, with some European officials urging European Council President Charles Michel to suspend Hungary’s presidency.

Hungary has consistently opposed Ukraine’s accession to NATO and the EU, resisted sanctions on Russia, undermined Western aid efforts for Ukraine, and maintained close ties with Moscow throughout the conflict. These actions have strained relations between Ukraine and Hungary, which were already tense before 2022.

Despite these challenges, Zelensky and Orban described their meeting as a significant step toward resolving longstanding issues between the two countries. “The content of our talks today can become the basis for a future bilateral agreement between our states, which will regulate our relations,” Zelensky said, as reported by European Pravda.

Orban added, “We want to establish relations between our countries and to sign a cooperation agreement with Ukraine similar to those Hungary has already signed with other neighbours.”

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