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Hungarian official: Orban's meeting with Putin 'about peace'

by Abbey Fenbert October 19, 2023 2:28 AM 2 min read
Gergely Gulyas, chief of staff to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, on Nov. 9 2018. (Attila Kisbenedek / AFP via Getty Images)
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Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban's recent meeting with Russian dictator Vladimir Putin in China demonstrates the importance of "talking about peace," Orban's chief of staff Gergely Gulyas told local journalists on Oct. 18.

Gulyas said the talks signified "the importance of talking about peace and the need to put an end to Russian aggression."

"This is exactly what the Prime Minister did, and I would advise others to do the same," he said.

Gulyas was responding to criticism of the meeting, which took place at the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing on Oct. 17. Orban was the only European Union leader to attend the forum.

The U.S. Ambassador to Hungary, David Pressman, condemned the talks in a post on the social media platform X (formerly Twitter.)

"Hungary’s leader chooses to stand with a man whose forces are responsible for crimes against humanity in Ukraine," Pressman said.

Gulyas dismissed this criticism.

"If you think back to previous years, you will see meetings there — many meetings between Joe Biden and President Putin," he said.

Hungary has a history of blocking EU sanctions against Russia and aid packages to Ukraine. Orban himself has criticized Ukraine for accepting economic support, calling it a financially "non-existent country."

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