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Hungarian PM Orbán reportedly to visit Kyiv on Tuesday

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Hungarian PM Orbán reportedly to visit Kyiv on Tuesday

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is expected to visit Kyiv and meet with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Tuesday, 2 July.

Source: The Guardian with reference to its sources

Quote: „Hungary’s 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.“

Details: Two sources in Budapest said that Orbán is expected to meet with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv. This will be Orbán’s first trip to Ukraine since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

The Guardian writes that Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to the head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, refused to comment on the possible visit. But another source in Kyiv confirmed this instead.

„Orbán is here tomorrow, unless there is a last-minute change,“ said the source.

One source in Budapest said that the plans for the visit came after lengthy talks over the rights of Ukraine’s Hungarian-speaking minority, which lives in the far west of Ukraine near the border with Hungary.

„It was a precondition for the meeting that the issue of nationality rights was resolved. In recent weeks, an agreement has been reached. They will be able to announce this as a success,“ said a source in Budapest with knowledge of the buildup to the visit.

Although the issue of citizenship rights has been one of Budapest’s most vocal claims regarding Ukraine, Orbán’s sceptics accuse him of using the issue as a smokescreen to promote Russian narratives about the war.

Unlike most European countries, Hungary has repeatedly questioned the need for military support for Ukraine and instead called for a ceasefire. After winning the parliamentary elections in 2022, Orbán included Zelenskyy in the list of „opponents“ who supposedly conspired against him and supported the opposition.

Meanwhile, Budapest has kept its channels of communication open with Moscow, and Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó has made at least five visits to Russia since the start of the full-scale war, the most recent of which was last month for an economic forum in St Petersburg.

A source in Kyiv said that it was unclear whether Orban was travelling to Kyiv in a bilateral capacity or as an EU representative.

„There is clearly a conflict [between the EU’s interests and Budapest’s],“ said the source.

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