Viktor Orbán heads to Moscow today for talks with Vladimir Putin, which has caused concern in the EU.

Viktor Orban will travel to Moscow on Friday for talks with Vladimir Putin, multiple sources said Guardian, days after Hungary’s prime minister made his first visit to Ukraine, Russia’s full-scale invasion began. The visit comes as the Budapest leader “attempts to mediate between Russia and Ukraine” after Hungary took over the EU’s rotating presidency.

Two sources in Budapest confirmed the trip to The Guardian, saying it was planned to coincide with a visit to Ukraine after Hungary took over the EU’s rotating presidency this week.

A senior EU source has confirmed that Viktor Orbán has been briefed on the plans, which have sparked discontent in Brussels.

So far, neither Budapest nor Moscow have officially confirmed the visit, and Hungarian government spokesmen have not responded to requests for comment. Orban will attend a Turkish summit in Azerbaijan later.

European Council President Charles Michel sent a message Thursday evening in which he criticized Viktor Orbán’s decision to visit Moscow, though he did not name them.

“The rotating EU presidency has no mandate to engage with Russia on behalf of the EU. The European Council is clear: Russia is the aggressor, Ukraine is the victim. There can be no discussion about Ukraine without Ukraine,” Michael wrote in X.

Orban, widely considered the most pro-Russian leader in the EU, has tried to portray himself as a “pro-peace” politician, but has often voiced Russia’s views on the war. He has also repeatedly withheld EU support for Ukraine, much to the frustration of many European leaders.

“Orban’s team planned a trip to Moscow before meeting Zelenskiy,” a source close to the Hungarian government said. “He is trying to mediate between Russia and Ukraine. After his discussion with the Ukrainian president, this meeting makes sense.

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A trip to Moscow could cause further unrest in Brussels and other member states, where many are already horrified that the leader they say has done everything in recent years to undermine European unity and the rule of law. Next six months.

Orban proposed a duel in Kiev

During a visit to Kiev on Tuesday, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán praised Budapest Ukraine’s peace efforts but asked President Volodymyr Zelensky to consider the idea of ​​a quick ceasefire that could speed up peace talks.

“I asked the president to think about whether we could reverse this order and speed up the peace talks if we get a ceasefire first,” Orban said.

“A time-bound ceasefire would provide an opportunity to speed up peace talks. I have explored this possibility with the President and I am grateful for his honest responses and negotiations,” he said.

Zelensky, who spoke before Orban, did not respond to comments. Kiev has repeatedly rejected the idea of ​​a cease-fire and peace on terms desired by Russia, arguing that the first step in this direction would be the withdrawal of Moscow’s troops from the occupied territories.

“The mission of the Hungarian presidency is to contribute to solving the challenges facing the European Union. This is why my first trip was to Kiev,” Orban wrote on Facebook.

The Hungarian leader last visited Russia in September 2022 to attend the funeral of the last Soviet leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, but did not meet Putin on that occasion.

The only head of an EU country to visit Moscow since the start of the war is Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehhammer, who traveled there in April 2022, weeks after the invasion began.

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Since then, Putin has been largely ignored by Western leaders, except for Orban, who traveled to Shanghai last October to meet the Russian president.

Orbán’s foreign minister, Peter Szyjardo, is a frequent visitor to Russia, receiving a medal from the Russian government.

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