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Head of Zelensky's Office proposes meeting between the Ukrainian President and Orbán
Andriy Yermak, the head of the Ukrainian President's Office had a phone conversation with Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó, who is currently in Ghana, Yernak wrote on Telegram. Yermak informed Szijjártó that the Ukrainian Parliament is preparing to adopt several important pieces of legislation.
According to Foreign Affairs spokesman Máté Paczolay, the parties agreed on the importance of improving relations between Hungary and Ukraine, and that personal talks are the best option.
Yermak proposed a meeting between Volodymyr Zelensky and Orbán, to which Szijjártó responded that the Hungarian side is open to the idea, in case there is a positive outcome.
US Ambassador criticizes Orbán for 'embracing Putin'
The United States envoy to Hungary, David Pressman, delivered a speech in which he accused Hungary's far-right prime minister Viktor Orbán of neglecting the country’s alliance with NATO and characterizing him as a leader who warmly embraces Russian leader Vladimir Putin.
Speaking at an American Chamber of Commerce event in Budapest on Tuesday night, Pressman admonished Hungary for relying on its NATO allies while comfortably dismissing their interests, even amid a European war. “That disregard is evident when the [Hungarian] prime minister embraces Putin, when his government threatens to hold up crucially needed aid to its neighbor, Ukraine, while Ukrainian men, women, and children are murdered by war criminals,” the diplomat said.
Pressman also slammed Orbán for this anti-American rhetoric, referencing a leaked CIA report that suggests the Hungarian Prime Minister views the U.S. as a "top adversary" to his party.
Orban threatens to block EU aid for Ukraine
In an interview with state radio Viktor Orbán asserted that the European Union should refrain from initiating discussions on Ukraine's accession to the bloc. Orbán underscored the incompatibility of Hungary's national interests with Ukraine joining the EU and stressed the necessity for unanimity among member states on this matter. Since consensus was lacking, Orbán asserted that there could be no agreement subject to a potential veto. He also expressed uncertainty about whether Ukraine's legal system adhered to the rule-of-law criteria mandated for EU membership and cited ambiguity regarding the country's territorial and population size due to Russian occupation. Orbán advocated for the prior implementation of a strategic partnership agreement for five to ten years.
In a separate statement preceding Orbán's remarks, Foreign Minister, Péter Szijjártó, urged NATO members to reassess their unsuccessful Ukraine strategy. Szijjártó held discussions with Russian FM Sergei Lavrov on the sidelines of an OSCE meeting in Macedonia, asserting that maintaining stable cooperation between Hungary and Russia "aligned with national interests". Orban is seen as Putin's closest ally inside the EU.
Council of Europe calls on Hungary to abandon sovereignty protection' bill
Dunja Mijatovic, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights has urged Hungary to abandon its proposed 'sovereignty' bill, citing concerns about its broad investigative powers and insufficient democratic oversight. The move comes after Hungarian PM Viktor Orban's party, Fidesz, introduced a "sovereignty protection bill" to parliament last week, seeking to establish an authority to monitor political interference and suggest regulatory changes.
According to critics and many Hungarian NGOs, the bill is an attempt to suppress dissent in a country that has frequently had issues with the EU over democratic rights since Orban came to power. The legislation, currently awaiting final approval by lawmakers, includes provisions that could lead to up to three years in prison for foreign financing of parties or groups participating in elections.
Mijatovic called for the Hungarian Parliament to set aside these proposals, expressing concerns that the bill grants the new authority unchecked access to sensitive data and private information without proper oversight. The Commissioner warned against the potential weaponization of the bill, saying: "The draft package of laws submitted to Parliament, jointly with a parallel proposal by the Government to insert a reference to the new Office into the Fundamental Law, is so vague that the invasive scrutiny of the proposed Office could be weaponized against anybody who may be considered an adversary due, for instance, to ‘activities aimed at influencing democratic debate’.