Orbán conveys Putin's arguments in letter to EU leaders

July 09. 2024. – 03:16 PM



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After his so-called peace mission, i.e. his trips to Kyiv, Moscow, and Beijing, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán wrote a letter to EU leaders, including Council President Charles Michel, informing them of the results of his meetings, Ukrainska Pravda reports. The paper obtained the letter, dated 5 July, in which Orbán reassures everyone that

“he did not present any proposals or express any opinions on behalf of the European Council or the European Union.”

He writes that any claims to that effect are unfounded. One reason why he had to write this was likely that after their talks, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Orbán was in Moscow as a representative of the EU Presidency. On top of this, the Hungarian Prime Minister had added the logo of the Hungarian EU presidency to the image in his Facebook post announcing the visit.

In his letter to EU leaders, Orbán wrote that Putin's attitude to the situation on the battlefield differs significantly from that of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. "Putin did not mention Russian losses in any form," Orbán wrote, adding that the Russian leader had said that, to his knowledge, the Ukrainians were losing 40-50,000 troops a month (the losses of the two warring sides can only be speculated on, as neither side reports them regularly). Orbán also wrote that in light of the Ukrainian losses,

“Putin was surprised that the Ukrainian president rejected the proposal for a temporary ceasefire.”

The Russian president would agree to a ceasefire that would not result in a redeployment or restructuring of Ukrainian forces. Furthermore, Putin envisages a cessation of fighting on the basis of the framework of the April 2022 peace talks, which provide international security guarantees. This means a right to veto Ukraine's security guarantees in the event of the use of force against Ukraine, and Russia would expect to be among the guarantors. Moscow would also be willing to negotiate along the lines of a Chinese-Brazilian proposal, which makes no mention of Ukraine's territorial integrity and sovereignty.

In the letter, Orbán also included his usual line that Europe needs peace, which is currently impossible "because diplomatic channels are blocked and there is no direct dialogue between the parties". The Hungarian prime minister pointed out that time is a key factor, as fighting is intensifying and the number of casualties is increasing. The Prime Minister said that if the fighting is not halted, we will see "much more dramatic losses and battlefield developments" in the next two months than ever before.

The Hungarian PM said that due to the ongoing election campaign, the US is not likely to take the lead in peace initiatives right now, so a "European initiative" is needed in the spirit of "strategic autonomy".

Pravda noted that Orbán plans to hold more spontaneous meetings in the future, while EU ambassadors intend to bring up the Hungarian leader's self-appointed peace mission at their next meeting.

The Russian president has a definitive interest in "elevating" Viktor Orbán, and this is how influential agents are normally planted among the ranks of opponents, according to Hungarian security policy expert and former chief national security officer Péter Buda, who recently gave an interview to Telex. As he put it: what Orbán "is able to achieve" is in fact what Putin wants.

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