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Hungary’s Orban congratulates Putin on election ‘win’

by Chris York March 21, 2024 9:52 PM 2 min read
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban during his annual news conference in Budapest, Hungary, on Dec. 21, 2023. (Akos Stiller/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
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Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban congratulated Vladimir Putin on his presidential election win in a letter lauding their countries’ cooperation “based on mutual respect.”

Describing the letter in a post on X on March 21, Orban’s spokesperson, Zoltan Kovacs, said: “After the official election results, Orban congratulated Vladimir Putin on his re-election, noting that the cooperation between Hungary and Russia, based on mutual respect, enables important discussions even in challenging geopolitical contexts.

“Orban affirmed Hungary's commitment to peace and readiness to intensify cooperation in sectors not restricted by international law, underlining the importance of dialogue in fostering peaceful relations.”

Hungary is the only EU country to have maintained close ties with the Kremlin since the launch of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Budapest has repeatedly opposed sanctions against Moscow and obstructed EU support for Kyiv.

Orban’s warm words are in stark contrast to those offered by other European leaders following the Russian presidential election held on March 15-17.

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier described the vote as a “pseudo-election,” while the Polish Foreign Ministry said they were neither “'legal, free or fair.”

Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said the election was a “special nomination operation.”

Putin won with 87.2% of the vote in an election that was widely seen as tightly controlled and without the participation of any meaningful opposition.

Orban has previously said the Russian invasion of Ukraine is not a war, adding that “when Russia declares war then there will be war.”

He has instead described it as a "military operation," echoing the term the Kremlin uses to refer to the full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Putin ‘wins’ rigged Russian election; Ukrainians in occupied territories vote at gunpoint
Russian authorities on March 15-17 held a presidential election in two countries – Russia and the regions of Ukraine brutally occupied by the Kremlin. The voting was neither free nor fair, with the result known in advance. In the occupied areas, voting was held illegally at gunpoint. In Russia, th…
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