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Meeting with Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orban

October 17, 2023, Beijing

Vladimir Putin held a meeting with Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orban.

The Russian delegation at the talks also included Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak, Presidential Aide Yury Ushakov, Minister of Economic Development Maxim Reshetnikov, Director General of State Atomic Energy Corporation Rosatom Alexei Likhachev and Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller.

* * *

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Prime Minister, colleagues.

We are happy to meet with you here, on the sidelines of the international forum in Beijing.

Even though our opportunities to maintain contacts and develop relations are limited due to the current geopolitical situation, it is satisfying that we maintain and develop relations with many countries in Europe. Hungary is one of these countries.

For the past decades, relations between Hungary and Russia have been built exclusively on respect for each other’s interests and based on everything positive given to us by the past. It relates to many areas of activity, first of all, the economy. Last year, our trade and economic interaction grew by more than 80 percent, which is a very significant figure. Unfortunately, in the first seven months of this year, we saw a 35 percent decline. The good news is that it does not eliminate last year’s 80-percent growth, but there is reason to think about what we can do additionally to improve the process. This is the first issue.

Second. Naturally, it is very important that we have the opportunity to exchange opinions on both bilateral relations and also on the situation in Europe and the world with a European country, in this case, Hungary. We know that our positions are not always aligned, but I believe it is extremely important that we have the opportunity to exchange opinions.

We are happy to have this meeting, which, I am sure, will be positive. Thank you.

Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orban (retranslated): Mr President,

I have calculated that this is our 13th meeting since 2009. There have been difficult meetings but not as difficult as this one; we have never been in a more serious situation.

Hungary has never wanted to stand against Russia; on the contrary, its goal has always been to build and expand the best mutual contacts. And we have managed to do so.

However, due to the military operation and sanctions, our relations and the very basis of what we built together has been severely damaged.

Mr President, you know Hungary and you know its capabilities. We are doing what we can in this situation, that is, we are trying to save what is left of our bilateral contacts. We are interested in maintaining this cooperation not only at the level of communication, but at the level of the economy, while it is possible.

I want to thank you for the fact that Rosatom remains our reliable partner. I also want to thank Gazprom for fulfilling its contractual obligations. This helped us save much of what we have achieved together. Nobody likes it when the results of their work are rendered null through no fault of theirs.

We hope that we will continue our interaction.


October 17, 2023, Beijing