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Viktor Orban, Hungary's prime minister (R), and Volodymyr Zelenskiy, Ukraine's president, at a news conference in Kyiv, Ukraine, on July 2, 2024. (Andrew Kravchenko/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
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President Volodymyr Zelensky has dismissed a proposal from Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban to consider a ceasefire in order to "speed up peace talks," Kyiv said on July 2.

Speaking on national TV, Deputy Head of the Presidential Office Ihor Zhovkva, said that during meetings in the capital, Orban was given the "opportunity to express his thoughts."

"The President of Ukraine listened to him, but in response, he stated Ukraine's position – clear, understandable, and well-known," Zhovkva added.

Kyiv previously rejected a temporary break to hostilities, saying it would only provide a window of opportunity for Russia to regroup its forces.

Instead, Ukraine organized a global peace summit in Switzerland in June without Russia's participation to discuss possible steps toward peace.

In an earlier statement to reporters after the two leaders met, Orban said they had discussed the issue.

"I asked the president to think about whether we could reverse the order, and speed up peace talks with making a ceasefire first," he said.

"A ceasefire connected to a deadline would give a chance to speed up peace talks. I explored this possibility with the president and I am grateful for his honest answers and negotiations."

While praising Ukraine's peace initiatives, Orban said that they take "too long."

Orban's first visit to Ukraine since the start of the full-scale invasion comes as Hungary takes over the European Union's rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union.

This has sparked controversy, with some European officials calling on European Council President Charles Michel to suspend Hungary's presidency.

Budapest has repeatedly opposed Ukraine's accession to NATO and the EU, sanctions on Russia, undermined Western aid efforts for Ukraine, and maintained close relations with Moscow throughout the full-scale war.

This has led to deteriorating relations between Ukraine and Hungary, which were already strained before 2022.

Following their bilateral talks, Zelensky and Orban told journalists that their meeting was an important step toward solving long-standing problems between the two countries.

"The content of our talks today can become the basis for a future bilateral agreement between our states, which will regulate our relations," Zelensky said, as reported by European Pravda.

"We want to establish relations between our countries and to sign a cooperation agreement with Ukraine similar to those Hungary has already signed with other neighbors," Orban noted.

European MPs call on Charles Michel to suspend Hungarian presidency of EU Council
German members of the European Parliament (MEPs) sent a letter to European Council President Charles Michel, demanding to suspend Hungary’s presidency of the EU Council.

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