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Xi Jinping reiterates call for ceasefire in Ukraine during talks with Orban

Xi Jinping reiterates call for ceasefire in Ukraine during talks with Orban Xi Jinping (Getty Images)
Author: Maria Kholina

Chinese leader Xi Jinping reiterated his call for a ceasefire in Ukraine during a meeting with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who has disappointed Europe with his self-proclaimed "peace mission," citing Bloomberg.

According to a spokesperson for the Beijing Foreign Ministry, Xi Jinping said that the priority now should be "de-escalation as quickly as possible," echoing his country's comments following Russia's full-scale invasion in 2022.

As reported by the Hungarian state information agency MTI, Orban praised China, noting its "firmness and stability."

Bloomberg says that Xi Jinping's comments are unlikely to help end the fighting. Beijing has tried to present itself as largely neutral since Russia's attack, yet it has developed a deep friendship with Moscow in what Xi and Vladimir Putin call a "no limits" friendship.

Highlighting their close relationship, Xi and Putin have met more than 40 times since Xi came to power in 2012. During their meeting in Beijing in May, they agreed to strengthen coordination, including between their militaries, against what they called Washington's "destructive and hostile course."

In early 2023, China presented a vague 12-point peace plan that was largely ignored. Its main flaw is that it does not explain how to address the issue of territory seized by Russia.

Earlier this year, China and Brazil called for an international conference recognized by both Russia and Ukraine to discuss proposals for ending the war. This idea arose just before a war conference organized by Switzerland, where Beijing was present.

Orban's travels

Orban's trip to China came immediately after he met with Putin in Moscow. This visit provoked a sharp reaction from the rest of the European Union, which was already concerned about how Hungary would approach its EU presidency on July 1.

"Appeasement will not stop Putin," said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen after Orban arrived in Russia.

Speaking alongside Putin after the talks, Orban presented himself as a person uniquely positioned to mediate the war. The Kremlin later said that there had been no progress on Ukraine.

During his visit to Kyiv, Orban also called on President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to cease fire, which he believes should facilitate negotiations.

Ukrainians consider Hungary and China allies of Russia. These countries are perceived by Ukrainian citizens as hostile.