Viktor Orban Vladimir Putin

EU Leaders Outraged as a Defiant Viktor Orban Visits Putin on a “Peace Mission”

(ZeroHedge)—Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has showed up in Moscow Friday, on a surprise visit to meet with President Vladimir Putin which has at the same time outraged European officials.

Defying the EU, Orban wrote of the trip on X, “The #peace mission continues. Second stop: #Moscow.” This “peace mission” comes a mere days after for the first time of the war he visited Kiev and met with President Zelensky to talk about getting the sides to the negotiating table.

What especially makes things awkward for European Union leadership is the fact that Hungary just recently took over the rotating EU presidency.

Putin alluded to this in televised comments, saying that Orban had come to Moscow precisely in this capacity as the top representative of the European Council. This despite a number of European officials having strongly condemned the visit.

“I understand that this time you have come not just as our longstanding partner but as president of the council,” Putin told Orban. Putin said he’s expecting that Orban will lay out “the position of European partners” on Ukraine.

While Orban had informed NATO about his intention to visit Moscow, EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell slammed the visit, saying the PM is “not representing the EU in any form.” Borrell emphasized the trip is only in the context of “the framework of… bilateral relations between Hungary and Russia.”

Borrell also reminded a press briefing that Putin “has been indicted by the International Criminal Court and an arrest warrant released for his role in relation to the forced deportation of children from Ukraine to Russia.”

European Council President Charles Michel also said that Orban has “no mandate to engage with Russia on behalf of the EU.” He posted on X just prior to Orban’s meeting with Putin, “The European Council is clear: Russia is the aggressor, Ukraine is the victim. No discussions about Ukraine can take place without Ukraine.” And Ursula von der Leyen has called the visit “appeasement“.

Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas, who is set to become the EU’s next foreign policy chief, issued a swift and fierce condemnation, saying Orban is “exploiting” the EU presidency position in order to “sow confusion”. The well-known hawk added: “The EU is united, clearly behind Ukraine and against Russian aggression.”

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk stated, “The European Council is clear: Russia is the aggressor, Ukraine is the victim. No discussions about Ukraine can take place without Ukraine.” He expressed shock and dismay on X: “The rumors about your visit to Moscow cannot be true, @PM_ViktorOrban, or can they?”

Yet Orban remained unbowed and defiant in the face of an avalanche of denunciations, telling Putin in their meeting, “Hungary will slowly become the last European country that can talk to everyone.”

Orban has been busy blasting his EU counterparts for creating the conditions to extend the war as opposed to seeking its end…

After likely hundreds of thousands of lives lost in a grinding, horrific war which shows no signs of stopping and which could easily reach the three year mark, peace talks are still nowhere on the horizon. It is indeed long past time that an EU leader is seen going between the warring capitals in a desperate effort to open a window for truce talks which could lead to final negotiated settlement.

But Orban’s peace mission has European and NATO bureaucrats absolutely livid. This sets up Hungary for future and near-term contentious leadership within the EU Council. This friction was already present, but is deepening fast at this point. Are NATO and the EU afraid of peace?