Viktor Orban insisted Hungary is “a good friend of Ukraine” as he met with refugees fleeing into his country to escape the Russian invasion. Mr Orban said he had no message for either Vladimir Putin or Volodymyr Zelensky but he insisted Kyiv “can count on us” as it pushes back against Russia’s aggression. The comment appeared to signal a complete break between the Hungarian leader and Putin after strengthening their relationship during the coronavirus pandemic.
Asked whether he had a message for Presidents Zelensky and Putin, Mr Orban said: “I don’t have a message for anybody.
“I only have a message for those refugees who are here that Hungarians are here.
“Hungary is a good friend of Ukraine and the Ukrainian people, if they need any help, we are here.
“They can count on us.”
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He continued: “I don’t think the leaders need any message or advice from me.
“They’re big guys and they know better than me what should be done.
“What the Hungarians wish, it’s not an advice, it’s not a message, just a wish from the heart. Peace, please, peace.
“We try to provide all the chance for negotiations because what is going on now is war. The war can only be stopped by negotiations and peace talks and ceasefires.
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However, on Thursday Budapest rejected the European Commission’s proposal to give temporary protection for people fleeing Ukraine as there are clear asylum rules already in place and Hungary will give refugee status to everyone.
Mr Orban’s spokesman Gergely Gulyas added that countries of the Visegrad Four group jointly do not support the proposal.
The European Commission on Wednesday proposed to grant temporary protection to people fleeing war in Ukraine, including a residence permit and access to employment and social welfare.