Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban invited Russian President Vladimir Putin to a summit meeting in Budapest to make progress toward an immediate ceasefire between Russia and Ukraine.
“I suggested to President Putin that he should announce a ceasefire immediately,” Orban told an international press conference on Wednesday following his landslide victory in the April 3 general elections, which secured him a fourth consecutive term as the country’s leader.
Orban said that he spoke on the phone with Putin, who called him Wednesday morning to congratulate him on his election victory, Xinhua news agency reported.
“I know (the ceasefire) is not going to happen by itself, so I invited Putin, the presidents of Ukraine and France, and the German chancellor to Budapest, the sooner the better,” Orban said.
The aim of the summit would be an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine. “They should hold talks here in Budapest with one goal: not yet peace negotiations, which would take a longer time, but an agreement on an immediate ceasefire.”
He also said that Hungary is so “obsessed” with peace because more than 200,000 ethnic Hungarians live in Ukraine’s Transcarpathia region and Budapest has a “primary responsibility” for their lives.
Asked to respond to the proposal by certain EU member states that the sanctions on Russia’s energy sector should be extended, Orban said, “Poland has a large seashore. If they so want, they can harbor tankers with huge amounts of oil and gas, and can make do without Russian imports.” However, Hungary is a landlocked country, and it only has “pipelines, which are where they are, we cannot move them, so on this issue we disagree with our Polish friends.”
Orban added that Hungary is ready to pay for Russian gas in rubles if necessary, unlike other European Union countries, which have rejected Moscow’s request.
(The story has been published via a syndicated feed.)