ua en ru

Viktor Orbán in Kyiv: All details of Hungarian Prime Minister's visit to Ukraine

Viktor Orbán in Kyiv: All details of Hungarian Prime Minister's visit to Ukraine Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán (Getty Images)

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán arrives in Kyiv. The program of his visit includes a meeting with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, an informed source told RBC-Ukraine.

Hungarian media also reported on the prime minister's visit to the Ukrainian capital. The information was confirmed by Orbán's press secretary, Bertalan Havasi. He also says that talks are expected between the Hungarian prime minister and the Ukrainian president. The parties will discuss "the possibility of establishing peace," as well as current issues of Hungarian-Ukrainian bilateral relations.

"Viktor Orbán and Volodymyr Zelenskyy will also discuss current issues of Hungarian-Ukrainian bilateral relations. This event may be the first personal substantive meeting between Orbán and Zelensky since the beginning of the Russian-Ukrainian war on February 24, 2022," the Hungarian media Népszava writes.

Orbán promises 'first steps' for peace in Ukraine

On the eve of his visit to Kyiv, Orbán gave an interview to M1, in which he was asked what Hungary could do during its presidency of the EU Council to end the war in Ukraine, he said that "the first steps to promote peace will be taken on July 2."

"If you look at tomorrow's press, you will already see the first steps," he said on July 1.

According to him, "the Americans cannot be left out" when it comes to the future of the EU and the war between Ukraine and Russia. He believes that the EU will have to "prepare for the situation that sooner or later the Russians and Americans will come to an agreement with each other."

"Where will Europe stand here? Who will represent your interests? What are your interests?" he said, adding that the Hungarian presidency cannot answer these questions on its own.

Zelenskyy and Orbán meet

According to telex, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy met with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán at the Mariinskyi Palace in Kyiv.

The first photos from the meeting have already appeared. The photo was published by the head of the Zakarpattia Regional State Administration Viktor Mykyta.

Viktor Orbán in Kyiv: All details of Hungarian Prime Minister's visit to Ukraine

Photo: Zelenskyy and Orbán met in Kyiv (

Hungarian PM explains why he decided to visit Kyiv

On his Facebook page, Viktor Orbán said that the purpose of the Hungarian presidency of the EU Council "is to contribute to solving the problems the European Union faces," which is why he decided to make a trip to Kyiv.

What is known about the visit

The Guardian and the Financial Times were the first to report on Orbán's possible visit to Kyiv. The Guardian wrote that Orbán would arrive in Kyiv "as part of a surprise visit" and that his trip would take place at a time when Hungary is taking over the EU presidency.

According to the media, the plans for the trip came after lengthy negotiations over the rights of Ukraine's Hungarian ethnic minority. They live in the far west of Ukraine near the border of the two countries. One of the sources told the media "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."

"While the issue of nationality rights has been one of Budapest’s most vocal complaints when it comes to Ukraine, skeptics of Orbán have accused him of using the issue as a smokescreen to facilitate the promotion of Russian talking points over the conflict," the media adds.

Orbán is expected to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and other officials, the Financial Times reports, citing three people familiar with the matter.

It notes that Orbán's visit comes at a time when Hungary is taking over the EU presidency. A source in Kyiv told the media that there was uncertainty as to whether the Hungarian prime minister was heading to the Ukrainian capital to represent Hungary's position or as a representative of the EU, adding that it is clear that there is a conflict between the interests of the EU and Budapest.

Orbán's position on Ukraine

Unlike most European countries, Hungary has repeatedly questioned the need for military support for Ukraine and called for a ceasefire instead.

Budapest has maintained contact with Moscow. Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó has made at least five trips to Russia since the start of the full-scale war in Ukraine, most recently attending an economic forum in St. Petersburg last month. Orbán is often called a pro-Russian politician for his close ties to the Kremlin. He has regularly spoken out against financial aid to Kyiv and left the room when EU leaders voted to start negotiations with Ukraine, a major milestone on the country's path to full membership in the European Union.

According to Lithuanian Foreign Ministry estimates, Hungary has blocked or continues to block 41% of EU decisions on Ukraine. Budapest is currently refusing to allocate military aid to Kyiv from the EU fund totaling 6.6 billion euros. Earlier, Hungary's resistance did not allow approval of using proceeds from Russian financial assets frozen in Europe to help Ukraine in the long term, but this obstacle was eventually overcome.

Orbán has also repeatedly shown pro-Russian narratives, stating that Russia has a military advantage. Official Budapest justifies its tough stance on Ukraine by saying that Kyiv allegedly "does not fulfill its requirements to guarantee the rights of the Hungarian minority in the country" (EU accession criteria include minority rights). Media outlets point out that almost all EU leaders visited Kyiv after Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, which Orbán had not done before (in fact, the last time he visited Ukraine was in 2010). He is also one of only two European officials - along with Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer - who have met with Russian President Vladimir Putin during this time.

Last December, the Hungarian prime minister said that he had agreed to President Zelenskyy's proposal for a future meeting during a brief conversation in Argentina.

Zelenskyy also invited Orbán to the Ukrainian Peace Summit in Switzerland last month. However, the politician refused and sent Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó instead.

Sources: RBC-Ukraine sources, The Guardian, Financial Times, Deutsche Welle, Népszava.