Hungarian PM Orban invited to visit Ukraine, President’s Office says

18 February, 11:45 AM
Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Charles Michel and Viktor Orban (Photo:REUTERS/Yves Herman)

Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Charles Michel and Viktor Orban (Photo:REUTERS/Yves Herman)

Ukraine is ready to talk about “all aspects” of its relations with Hungary if the country’s notoriously pro-Russian prime minister, Viktor Orban, takes up Kyiv’s latest invitation to him to visit the Ukrainian capital, Ukrainian authorities have said.

Deputy Head of the President’s Office Ihor Zhovkva has confirmed that Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has been invited to Ukraine, Radio Svoboda reported on Feb. 17.

Zhovkva noted that Orban had met with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Feb. 9 at the recent EU summit.

"There was indeed a meeting between the President of Ukraine and the Prime Minister of Hungary in the circle of several other leaders," Zhovkva said.

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“Indeed, the Hungarian Prime Minister was the first to approach the President of Ukraine and shake his hand.”

He said that Zelenskyy had discussed Ukraine's European integration with Orban and invited him to Kyiv.

"The President of Ukraine has repeatedly invited Prime Minister Viktor Orban to come to Ukraine, to Kyiv," Zhovkva stated.

“To sit down at the table and talk about all aspects, including those that concern Hungary. We’re ready to offer our approaches on how to solve this.”

Hungary has shown very little support for Ukraine since Russia launched its full-scale invasion and war, refusing to allow weapons to transit Hungarian territory and attempting to hold up EU financial aid to Ukraine.

Hungary was slow to condemn Russian aggression against Ukraine, and on Nov. 22 last year Orban was pictured at a soccer match wearing a scarf that depicted Hungary in its pre-World-War-One borders — which included parts of today’s Ukraine and Romania.

That incident prompted Kyiv to summon Budapest’s ambassador for a dressing down.

Even before Russia launched its full-scale war on Ukraine, relations between Ukraine and Hungary were strained over language issues and the small Hungarian-speaking minority in the west of Ukraine.

Since 2017, Hungary has cited Ukraine’s policy on its Hungarian minority as the reason for blocking closer cooperation between Ukraine and NATO.

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