NewsViktor Orbán's surprise visit to Kyiv amid rising tensions

Viktor Orbán's surprise visit to Kyiv amid rising tensions

Viktor Orban
Viktor Orban
Images source: © Getty Images | 2024 Pier Marco Tacca
Paweł Buczkowski

2 July 2024 19:01

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán arrived in Kyiv on an unannounced visit. He is set to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. This is the Hungarian Prime Minister's first visit to Ukraine since Russia launched its full-scale attack on the country.

"Prime Minister Viktor Orbánarrived in Kyiv this morning to discuss European peace with President Volodymyr Zelensky," announced Hungarian government spokesperson Zoltán Kovács.

"The talks will focus on possibilities for achieving peace, as well as current issues in Hungarian-Ukrainian bilateral relations," added Kovács.

The Guardian reported on the visit overnight. "Viktor Orbán is expected to travel to Kyiv on Tuesday, according to three sources with knowledge of the plans, in a surprise visit for one of Europe’s most pro-Russian leaders, which comes as Hungary takes over the rotating presidency of the EU," reported the British portal.

This is Viktor Orbán's first visit to Ukraine since Russia launched its full-scale invasion over two years ago.

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Tensions between Hungary and Ukraine

Viktor Orbán, the closest ally of Vladimir Putin among EU leaders, has repeatedly opposed many EU initiatives aimed at supporting Ukraine in its defence against Moscow's aggression since Moscow's invasion in February 2022.

For years, the issue in relations between Hungary and Ukraine has been the approximately 100,000-strong Hungarian minority in Ukraine's Zakarpattia region. Budapest demands that the Ukrainian authorities restore the provisions from before 2017, before the entry into force of the education law that, according to Orbán's government, harms the Hungarian minority. In 2012, the Hungarian language also lost its status as a regional language in Zakarpattia.

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