Orban: Putin and Xi Expect Ukraine Peace Talks by End of 2024

Written by Camilla Jessen

Jul.11 - 2024 9:16 AM CET

Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
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Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban informed the European Union that Russian and Chinese leaders anticipate peace talks between Russia and Ukraine by the end of 2024.

This information was reported by the Spanish daily El Pais.

Confidential Reports from Orban

El Pais cited confidential reports from Orban after his visits to Russia and China.

Orban, who is seen as one of President Vladimir Putin’s closest Western allies, has caused tension within the EU and the US with his recent diplomatic missions to Ukraine, Russia, and China.

This follows his assumption of the rotating six-month EU presidency on July 1.

“Orban assures that Putin and [Chinese President Xi Jinping] assume that new peace talks will be held between Russia and Ukraine before the end of the year,” El Pais reported, quoting the Hungarian leader’s letter.

Commenting on the report, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko told the RBC news website that peace talks could take place when Ukraine adopts a more "realistic approach."

Putin’s Perspective

El Pais reported that Putin expressed surprise at Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s rejection of his ceasefire proposal.

Putin estimated Ukraine’s monthly battlefield losses at 40,000 to 50,000 troops while not disclosing Russian casualties.

Last month, Putin stated that Russia would cease its offensive only if Ukraine withdrew its troops from the east and south and abandoned its bid for NATO membership, a proposal that Kyiv dismissed as a territorial ultimatum reminiscent of Adolf Hitler.

According to AFP, Orban’s letter to European Council President Charles Michel, shared with EU member countries, mentioned that Putin was open to “any ceasefire proposal that does not serve the hidden relocation and reorganization of Ukrainian forces.”

El Pais added that Putin considers the aborted spring 2022 Istanbul peace talks, which the Kremlin has recently promoted as a potential basis for new talks, as “relevant.”

The U.S. Presidential Election Context

Orban discussed the potential Russian-Ukrainian ceasefire in the context of the upcoming U.S. presidential election. Orban, an admirer of Republican candidate Donald Trump, reportedly told Xi:

“I put forward the idea that a new [U.S.] president-elect will face pressure to present a rapid political outcome, even before taking office. A ceasefire that precedes the peace talks, as well as rapid and intense peace talks, could be of interest to a new [U.S.] administration.”

Xi did not comment on this scenario, according to El Pais.