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Kuleba to meet Hungarian counterpart, discuss potential Zelensky-Orban meeting

by The Kyiv Independent news desk January 11, 2024 4:54 PM 2 min read
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto meet on Dec. 11, 2023. (Peter Szijjarto / Facebook)
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Hungary's Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto will meet Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba on Jan. 29 in Uzhhorod to prepare for the potential high-level meeting between Volodymyr Zelensky and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, ATV reported on Jan. 11.

The leaders of Ukraine and Hungary recently spoke briefly during the inauguration ceremony for Argentina's president Javier Milei, in a conversation which Zelensky described as “frank”, on Dec. 10.

More than any other EU leader, Orban maintains close ties with the Kremlin, openly opposed the launch of Ukraine's EU accession negotiations, and blocked the passage of a 50 billion euro ($54 billion) aid package for Ukraine in December.

Presidential Office Head Andrii Yermak will also join the meeting in Uzhhorod, a Ukrainian regional capital near the Hungarian border, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Oleh Nikolenko said to NV.

“We will meet with Ukrainian counterpart Kuleba to understand if the high-level meeting could help the situation,” said Szijjarto.

Szijjarto had spoken to Yermak in December, saying at the time that a meeting between Zelensky and Orban would be meaningful if “it could give a result.”

According to ATV, Szijjarto will discuss the “preparation” with Kuleba before organizing the meeting of the Hungarian Prime Minister and the President of Ukraine.

Deputy Presidential Office head, Ihor Zhovkva told Interfax Ukraine on Dec. 25 that different aspects of between the two states could be discussed during the high-level meeting.

“This is a wide range of issues which is not only related to national minorities topic,” he said. “We can discuss the economy or the transit between the two countries.”

Since the beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion, Hungary has repeatedly obstructed EU funds for Kyiv while opposing sanctions against Russia, straining relations between Kyiv and Budapest.

Exclusive: New insights point to Hungary’s collaboration with Moscow on transfer of Ukrainian POWs
In early June, a bizarre and mysterious joint operation was carried out between two of Ukraine’s neighbors, one to the east and one to the west. Eleven Ukrainian soldiers, after having been held in Russian captivity for an unknown amount of time, were moved from Russia to Hungary. Although
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