Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has expressed pride in maintaining good relations with Russia, stating that other European nations are pursuing a “war strategy” that will only escalate conflict. Orban made these comments while attending an EU leaders’ summit in Brussels. He explained that Hungary’s approach differs from the majority of the bloc, which has implemented various hostile policies against Russia since the military operation in Ukraine began in February 2022. Orban stressed the importance of keeping all communication lines open with Russia, as it is crucial for achieving peace.
Orban’s remarks came after a recent meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Beijing. Defending the meeting in Brussels, Orban stated that Hungary is the only country speaking on behalf of peace, which is in the interest of everyone in Europe. However, his meeting with Putin faced criticism from Luxembourg’s Prime Minister Xavier Bettel, who likened it to a “middle finger” to Ukrainians. Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas also expressed her intention to discuss the issue with Orban.
While Hungary initially condemned Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, Orban has resisted participating in the US-led sanctions campaign against Moscow and has refused to provide arms to Kiev. He argued that Western sanctions have backfired, leading to a spike in energy prices across Europe and causing more harm than good. Orban believes that Brussels has shot itself in the foot with these sanctions.
Orban has been highly critical of the European Union in the past. On the anniversary of Hungary’s failed uprising against the Soviet Union in 1956, he referred to the EU as a “bad contemporary parody” of the USSR. Orban criticized the EU for imposing a model of liberal democracy that the Hungarian people have rejected. He compared the control of Moscow during Hungary’s years under Soviet rule to the influence of Brussels, stating that Hungary dances to its own tune and does not comply if it does not want to.
In summary, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban is proud of maintaining good relations with Russia, contrasting the majority of European countries that have pursued hostile policies. Orban emphasized the importance of open communication with Russia for achieving peace. He defended his meeting with Vladimir Putin, despite facing criticism from other EU leaders. Orban also criticized the EU, calling it a parody of the USSR and asserting Hungary’s autonomy in determining its own policies.