NewsHungarian prime minister Orban set to meet Putin amidst EU backlash

Hungarian prime minister Orban set to meet Putin amidst EU backlash

Orban flying to Moscow? "The government plane is already in Russia"
Orban flying to Moscow? "The government plane is already in Russia"
Images source: © PAP

6:21 AM EDT, July 5, 2024

The Hungarian investigative journalist Szabolcs Panyi caused a stir by informing the world about Viktor Orban's planned visit to Moscow on Friday. Will Orban meet with Putin against the will of the EU? The TASS agency reported that the plane had landed in Moscow late Friday morning. Citing Orban's secretary, it confirmed that the Hungarian prime minister would meet with Putin.

Viktor Orban unexpectedly visited Kyiv on Tuesday, one day after Hungary began its six-month presidency of the European Union. The Hungarian prime minister spoke with President Volodymyr Zelensky about a potential ceasefire and starting peace talks. It was the first trip by a high-ranking Hungarian politician to the Ukrainian capital since the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion.

However, an even bigger surprise was the news that he is set to fly to Moscow on Friday to meet with Putin. Hungarian investigative journalist Szabolcs Panyi announced the plans on Thursday. Radio Free Europe later confirmed the information, citing its own sources.

According to the Financial Times, he decided to verify the Hungarian prime minister's plans. Nevertheless, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov did not respond to the newspaper's request to confirm or deny the information about Orban's visit to Moscow. He only announced that Putin's schedule for Friday would be "rich in events."

Similarly, the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the prime minister's office did not respond to the Polish Press Agency's inquiry about Orban's possible visit to Moscow.

"No mandate"

Information about Orban's meeting with Putin caused an uproar among EU politicians.

"Hungary, despite assuming the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union for six months, has no mandate to engage with Russia on behalf of the EU," stated European Council President Charles Michel.

On Friday morning, Orban gave an interview to Hungarian radio. When asked about the visit to Moscow, he did not reply.

However, he flew to moscow

"Hungarian government plane already in Russian airspace, nearing Moscow. Yesterday, an invite for a Putin press conference with a mystery guest at 10 am GMT (6 AM Eastern Time) was sent out - but that must take place later for sure." Szabolcs Panyi wrote on Friday around 6:40 AM Eastern Time.

Shortly after 7:20 AM Eastern Time, the Russian news agencies RIA Novosti and TASS reported that the Hungarian government plane landed at Vnukovo Airport.

Both agencies reported that the press secretary of the Hungarian prime minister confirmed that Viktor Orban had fled to Moscow, where he would meet with Vladimir Putin.

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