Preparations Underway for Bilateral Meeting Between Hungary’s Orbán and Ukraine’s Zelensky

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has been at the center of controversy recently due to his opposition to Ukraine’s potential membership in the European Union. Orbán has received widespread criticism for his stance against Ukraine’s accession to the EU and for blocking further financial aid to Kiev.

The Hungarian leader believes that Ukraine is not yet ready to begin membership talks, especially since they have banned opposition parties and censored the media. There are also concerns about the infringement of rights for Hungarian minorities in Ukraine, as well as Hungarian banks and companies being affected by sanctions.

Despite these concerns, some media outlets have unfairly portrayed Orbán as either an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin or as someone who is blackmailing the EU to receive blocked funds. However, it is important to note that Orbán’s position on Ukraine is based on broader issues, including the treatment of Hungarian minorities and the impact of sanctions on Hungarian companies.

Earlier this month, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky met with Orbán during an event in Argentina and opened up a line of dialogue with the Hungarian Prime Minister. This has now led to preparations for a bilateral meeting between the two leaders, as reported by Reuters. The meeting aims to address recent tensions between the two countries and to discuss Ukraine’s progress on the path of European integration.

In early December, during the latest EU summit, all member states except Hungary agreed to start accession talks with Ukraine. However, Orbán left the room when this decision was made and later blocked €50 billion in military aid to Kiev, arguing that the funds should come from outside the EU budget.

Following a “productive phone call” between Ukrainian Chief of Staff Andrei Yermak and Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto, plans for a future meeting between Zelensky and Orbán were confirmed. The meeting is expected to address Ukraine’s ambitions to join the European Union and the financing of aid to the country, as reported by ABC News.

Orbán has insisted that any financial assistance to Ukraine should come from individual contributions from member countries, rather than modifications to the EU budget. He also emphasized that any plans to provide Ukraine with money should be limited to more short-term assistance, given the uncertain political and economic situation in the country.

Overall, the situation between Hungary and Ukraine remains complex, with Orbán facing criticism and accusations from some quarters, while also trying to ensure the protection of Hungarian interests in the region. The upcoming meeting between Orbán and Zelensky may provide an opportunity for both leaders to address their concerns and find a way forward in their relationship.


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