BUDAPEST (Reuters) – Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban arrived in Kyiv on Tuesday for talks with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to discuss current issues of Hungarian-Ukrainian relations, Orban’s press chief said.

The visit by Orban, an outspoken critic of Western military aid to Ukraine, comes a day after Hungary assumed the rotating presidency of the European Union Council.

“The most important topic of the talks is the chance to create peace,” Orban’s press chief Bertalan Havasi told Reuters in an emailed response, adding that both the leaders will also discuss Hungarian-Ukrainian bilateral relations.

Orban, the closest ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin among EU leaders, has frequently opposed EU initiatives to support Ukraine in its defence against Moscow’s aggression since the February 2022 invasion.

Last year, Orban told Putin that Hungary had never wanted to oppose Russia. In early 2024, it took the EU leaders weeks to break the Hungarian prime minister’s veto to extend 50 billion euros ($53.67 billion) in new aid to Ukraine.

Last week, the EU opened membership talks with Ukraine, giving the country a political boost in the midst of its war against Russia, although a long and tough road still lies ahead before it can join the bloc.

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(Reporting by Anita Komuves; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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