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Zelensky repudiates Orban, says 'only strong alliances' can be mediators between Russia, Ukraine

by Nate Ostiller and The Kyiv Independent news desk July 8, 2024 4:52 PM 2 min read
President Volodymyr Zelensky delivers a joint press conference with Polish Prime Minister following talks in Warsaw, Poland on July 8, 2024. (Sergei Gapon/AFP via Getty Images)
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President Volodymyr Zelensky criticized the so-called "peacekeeping mission" of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, saying on July 8 that successful mediation between Russia and Ukraine can be achieved only by "serious and strong alliances."

The comments came during a joint press conference with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk in Warsaw.

Orban visited Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on July 5 in what he called a "peace mission," just days after meeting Zelensky in Kyiv.

Many European officials expressed anger at Orban's visit to Moscow, and the European Union Council President Charles Michel said that Hungary "has no mandate to engage with Russia on behalf of the EU."

Zelensky dismissed Orban’s ceasefire proposal, Kyiv says
Kyiv previously rejected a temporary break to hostilities, saying it would only provide a window of opportunity for Russia to regroup its forces.

Ukraine's Foreign Ministry echoed the sentiment, saying that "the decision to make this trip was made by the Hungarian side without the agreement or coordination from Ukraine."

Zelensky further emphasized that Orban's trip to Moscow was "his independent choice."

Effective mediation requires the most powerful countries or alliances, such as the U.S., China, or the entire EU, Zelensky said, adding that Putin's meeting with Orban "does not mean that he wants to end the war."

"(Putin) wants to show some steps, but after this he always has a bloody demonstration, as this morning in Ukraine," Zelensky said.

Russia launched a mass missile attack on Kyiv and other cities across Ukraine on the morning of July 8, killing at least 28 civilians and injuring 112 others.

Over 100 civilian casualties reported after Russian mass attack on Kyiv, other cities in Ukraine
The aerial attack targeted Kyiv, Dnipro, Kryvyi Rih, Sloviansk, Pokrovsk, and Kramatorsk, damaging “50 civilian sites, including residential buildings, a business center, and two medical facilities,” the State Emergency Service reported.

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