Orbán's talks to Putin about Ukraine war

Shortly after his visit to Kyiv, Hungarian Prime Minister and current EU Council President Viktor Orbán has made a surprise visit to Moscow. After talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin about the war against Ukraine, he declared that Europe needs peace and that all sides must work towards this goal. Commentators are sceptical.

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Népszava (HU) /

Following in Kim Jong-un's footsteps

Népszava is appalled:

“Orbán may not be the only European leader to have honoured Putin with a visit; his Austrian counterpart did so in the first weeks of the war. But Austria is not a member of Nato, Karl Nehammer was not holding the EU's rotating presidency, nor did he pretend to represent anyone but himself and his government. ... In any case, Hungary's prime minister can now claim the dubious honour of being the first EU leader to shake hands with the wanted war criminal in the Kremlin after Kim Jong-un.”

Sme (SK) /

Expanding his campaign

Sme takes a look at Orbán's motives:

“Of course Viktor Orbán didn't negotiate peace in Moscow - not even a fragment of a peace agreement. ... His goal was to spread his propaganda campaign 'warmonger and dove of peace' beyond Hungary's borders. But above all he wanted to compensate for his previous visit to Kyiv so that no one would get the idea that he had suddenly become normal. Of course, he abused the EU presidency that his country had just taken over. However as always over the past ten years, he is counting on his trip to Moscow not having any serious consequences apart from the agitated statements of Western partners.”

Radio Kommersant FM (RU) /

Shuttle diplomacy

Radio Kommersant FM sees certain political gains from Orbán's widely criticised mission:

“Unlike the EU, Nato appeared to be aware of the Hungarian head of government's trip. Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that his colleagues were ready to listen to Orbán's report about the results of his mission at the next meeting of the military bloc. ... Viktor Orbán's visit to Moscow is therefore likely to fall under the heading of shuttle diplomacy. ... Orbán is effectively the only representative of the Western community who can travel to the Russian capital and put up with the resulting public condemnation from his allies. In any case, there is now some movement in the right direction, even if it's not entirely clear what that is.”

Ukrajinska Prawda (UA) /

Operation play-up-to-Trump

Ukraine and the supposed desire for peace are just a means to an end for Orbán, Ukrainska Pravda suspects:

“For Hungary, it is not the result that is important, but the process. Viktor Orbán is well aware that his efforts will have no real effect. The goal is a different one. Hungary's current head of government has traditionally focused his foreign policy on relations with the US. His relationship with Biden has long been irretrievably broken, so Orbán, contrary to international etiquette, openly supports Donald Trump, is counting on him winning and is doing everything he can to become one of Trump's main contacts in Europe. And Ukraine is just one means of achieving this goal.”