For the first time since the beginning of the war on Ukraine, Viktor Orbán sat down with Vladimir Putin today.
The two held bilateral talks on Tuesday, 17 October in Beijing, as announced by Bertalan Havasi, the Prime Minister’s press chief.
The two leaders discussed Hungarian–Russian cooperation in the areas of gas and oil transport, as well as nuclear energy. During the meeting, Viktor Orbán emphasized the importance of peace. He explained that
it is crucial for the entire continent, including Hungary, to put an end to the influx of refugees, the sanctions, and the fighting.
Last week, Hungarian Conservative noted that according to international press reports, Vladimir Putin was expected to attend the same forum in China as Viktor Orbán.
Viktor Orbán and Vladimir Putin last met in person in Moscow on 1 February 2022, before the outbreak of the war in Ukraine. At the time, following their five-hour-long discussions, the two politicians held a joint press conference where they discussed various topics, including the Russia–Ukraine conflict, gas transport, the Hungarian vaccine factory, and Paks II.
During that meeting, the Hungarian Prime Minister emphasized that his visit concerning Ukraine was also a peace mission on behalf of the European Union. He stated that the two sides were ready for a reasonable agreement, as no EU leader wanted war. Putin reminded that Moscow had sent its proposals on international security to both NATO and the United States.
Viktor Orbán travelled to Beijing on Sunday, where he is participating in the third summit of the Belt and Road Forum and conducting official negotiations with Chinese leaders.
Orbán already participated and delivered remarks at the previous two summits of the Chinese economic initiative in 2017 and 2019. Hungary intends to remain part of this far-reaching cooperation in the future, The Hungarian PM has emphasized during his visit that China is Hungary’s ninth most significant trading partner, and in 2023, China became Hungary’s largest foreign direct investor once again. Companies with Chinese ownership provide employment to nearly 20,000 people in Hungary.
Sources: Hungarian Conservative/Press Office of the Prime Minister/MTI