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Orbán, Schröder, and Berlusconi receive New Years' Eve wishes from Putin
The Kremlin published a statement last Friday that included Vladimir Putin’s Christmas and New Year wishes. Only three EU politicians received holiday greetings from the Russian president: Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and former heads of government Silvio Berlusconi and Gerhard Schröder.
Putin's message to Orban highlights that “despite the difficult international situation, relations between the countries have maintained a positive trend.” “The President of Russia also confirmed his intention to continue joint work on topical issues on the bilateral agenda,” the statement says.
Orban has been criticized many times before for his close ties to Putin.
Ukraine Foreign Affairs Minister: Hungary took Ukraine a hostage
Ukraine became Viktor Orbán’s captive in the fight for a reduction in frozen EU funds, Ukraine Foreign Affairs Minister Dmytro Kuleba said in an interview with Politico last week.
“Hungary is playing its own game,” Kuleba said. “It took Ukraine as a hostage for its fight for money it believes the Commission owes to them. The good news is that the Commission found a way how to make this financial aid to Ukraine possible without securing a vote by Hungary, so now we know for critical cases there is a solution,” he added. Ukraine's Foreign Affairs Minister stressed that they appreciate all the help Ukraine is receiving but timing is always the issue. "When you fight a war, everything is needed yesterday,” Kuleba told Politico.
Orban pays his respects to late Pope Benedict XVI
Tens of thousands of people have visited St. Peter’s Basilica this week to pay tribute to the late Pope Benedict XVI. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and his wife, Aniko Levai, have also paid their respects in Vatican City. Similarly to Pope Benedict, Orban has called for the "protection of Europe's Christian roots" multiple times over the past years.
An opposition MP, Akos Hadhazy spotted that a military plane arrived in Rome on Monday and took off from an airport where the PM and his wife enjoyed lunch on Wednesday.
"I don't know how the Prime Minister and his wife usually travel to eat lobster in Rome, but the 'defense' luxury jet landed in Rome at exactly one o'clock on Tuesday and is taking right now. So either the Prime Minister is unlucky enough to always be with his wife in the same place as the luxury military jet, or he was traveling on it," Hadhazy posted.
Orban's spokesperson Bertalan Havasi stressed that he can't provide information about the Prime Minister's private programs but "he always pays the expenses incurred in his private programs himself".