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Press statements following talks with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban

July 5, 2024, The Kremlin, Moscow

Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orban made press statements following their talks.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Prime Minister, ladies and gentlemen,

Our substantive talks with the Prime Minister of Hungary, Mr Viktor Orban, have just concluded.

It is important that we maintain a dialogue even in the current difficult geopolitical situation.

Like during many of our previous meetings, we had a truly useful and sincere conversation on topical issues of bilateral cooperation and also, naturally, on the acute issues on the international and regional agenda, including developments around Ukraine.

Let me note that Russia and Hungary continue cooperating in a number of areas, above all in the energy sector. Healthy pragmatism and mutual benefit are the key principles.

Work is underway on our flagship joint project to expand the Paks Nuclear Power Plant. Putting into operation the fifth and sixth units will more than double the capacity of the station, hence improving the energy supply of the Hungarian economy and powering industrial enterprises and households with cheap and clean energy. When building new units, only the most advanced engineering and technological solutions are used, and physical safety and environmental requirements are fully ensured.

We continue working together in medicine and pharmaceutical industry. We speak in favour of continuing work in priority areas of cooperation.

Of course, a substantive, direct and honest discussion was held on pressing international issues, including the Ukraine conflict and possible ways to settle it.

Mr Prime Minister told me about his recent meetings in Kiev, where he advanced a number of proposals, among them a call for a ceasefire to create conditions for peace negotiations with Moscow.

As for Russia, I have repeatedly said that we remain open for a discussion on a political and diplomatic settlement. However, the opposite side only makes clear its reluctance to resolve this issue in this manner. Ukraine’s sponsors continue using this country and its people as a ram, making it a victim in the confrontation with Russia. 

As we see the state of affairs, including in the light of what we heard today from Mr Prime Minister, Kiev is still not ready to abandon the idea of waging “war until final victory.”

In my opinion, the Kiev regime does not allow the very idea of cessation of hostilities because in this case the pretext for extending martial law disappears. And if the martial law has to be cancelled, it means that the elections, which were not held on time, will have to be held. But the chances of winning them are close to zero for the Ukrainian rulers who have lost their ranking and legitimacy.

Meanwhile, we outlined our peace initiative quite recently at my meeting with the senior officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation. We believe that its implementation would make it possible to end hostilities and begin negotiations. Moreover, this should not just be a truce or a temporary ceasefire, nor should it be a pause that the Kiev regime could use to recover its losses, regroup and rearm. Russia advocates a full and final end to the conflict. The conditions for that, as I have already said, are set out in my speech at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We are talking about the complete withdrawal of all Ukrainian troops from the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics and from the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions. There are other conditions as well. But this is a subject for fairly detailed consideration in the course of possible joint work.

Ladies and gentlemen,

 Given that Hungary has held the Presidency of the Council of the European Union since July 1, Mr Orban and I exchanged views on the state of affairs in relations between Russia and the European Union, which are currently at their lowest point. We also talked about the tentative principles of a future security architecture in Europe, also tentative.

Overall, the talks were very timely and, I think, useful for both sides. Of course, Mr Prime Minister presented a general idea of the Western outlook, which is known to us, including from the point of view of Ukraine’s interests. Nevertheless, we are grateful to Mr Prime Minister for visiting Moscow. We see it as an attempt to restore dialogue and give it an additional impetus.

Thank you.

Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orban (retranslated): Ladies and gentlemen,

Mr President,

Today I met with the President of Russia for the 11th time. This meeting is special because it is being held at the time of war, when Europe badly needs peace. Peace is what Europe needs most of all. We see the struggle for peace as the main task for the next six months of our European Council presidency.

I have told Mr President that Europe received the greatest impetus for development during peaceful decades. We in Europe have now been living in the shadow of war for two and a half years. This is causing enormous difficulties in Europe. We cannot feel safe, we see pictures of destruction and suffering. This war has already started affecting our economic growth and our competitiveness.

In general, as I have already told Mr President, Europe needs peace. Over the past two years we have realised that we will not achieve peace without diplomacy, without channels of communication. Peace will not come by itself, we need to work for it.

I was just discussing with Mr President today the ways to achieve peace. I wanted to know what the shortest road to end the war is. I wanted to hear Mr President’s opinion on three important questions, and I heard his opinion. What does he think about the current peace initiatives? What does he think about a ceasefire and peace talks, and in what succession can they be carried out? And the third thing that interested me was Mr President’s vision of Europe after the war. I am thankful to Mr President for this open and honest conversation.

Ladies and gentlemen.

In the recent two and a half years, there are practically no countries left that could contact both one and the other opposing parties. Hungary is just one of such few countries. This is why I was in Kiev this week, and this is why I am in Moscow now.

From my experience I understood that the positions are poles apart. Very many steps are needed to be done to become closer to the end of the war. However, we have made the most important step – we have established contact. And I will continue to work towards this end.

Thank you.

Question: How did Mr Zelensky react to your ceasefire proposal? What did he say to that?

Viktor Orban: I told that to the President of Russia.

Question: Mr President, could you tell us?

Vladimir Putin: No.

July 5, 2024, The Kremlin, Moscow