Russian President Vladimir Putin called Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban a pragmatic person and doubted that his optimism in ending the hostilities in Ukraine has ended. Putin stated this when answering the question of what exactly he told Orban about the situation in Ukraine.
“As for the meeting with Prime Minister Orbán, you said that his optimism is exhausted, well, I don’t know. It seems to me that Mr. Orban is such a pragmatic, optimistic person, I don’t think that his last optimism has been exhausted,” Putin said, responding to the words of Orban, who earlier noted that the answer to the question of a cessation of hostilities in Ukraine was not encouraging.
Putin again emphasized that Moscow is ready for negotiations and recalled that in Ukraine there is a decree of the country’s President Vladimir Zelensky prohibiting negotiations with Russia as long as Putin is its president. In this regard, the Russian leader noted that if Kiev wants a negotiation process, it is necessary not to limit itself to “some theatrical gestures,” but first of all to cancel the decree prohibiting negotiations. Putin noted at the same time that some people in the Ukrainian leadership, who had recently called for a “strategic defeat” of Russia, now spoke “with a different voice.”
“We hear now that they seem to be ready for some kind of negotiations. And the responsible persons who supervise the foreign policy department and who just recently spoke about the need to inflict a strategic defeat on Russia on the battlefield, have now spoken in a different voice. They are talking about the need to solve these problems through peaceful negotiations,” the president said, calling this “the right transformation.”
Putin spent negotiations with Orban on October 17 at the Chinese Diaoyutai residence, where the heads of delegations live. The last time he met with the leader of an EU member state was before the start of the special operation in Ukraine. The previous time Putin met with a European leader was in mid-February 2022, when German Chancellor Olaf Scholz came to Moscow. At a meeting with Orban, Putin said that it was important to discuss the situation in the world and Europe with one of the EU countries, although positions do not always coincide. “But having the opportunity to exchange opinions, in my opinion, is always extremely important,” he emphasized.