Putin Tells Orban Moscow Ready For 'Complete & Final End' To Ukraine War

Update(1244ET): Putin and Orban's meeting reportedly lasted hours, with Putin emerging from it and telling a press conference he supports "a complete and final end" to the Ukraine conflict rather than "some kind of truce or cease-fire." But he also stressed that for this to happen Ukrainian forces must withdraw from the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia regions - which are the four eastern territories which have been declared part of the Russian Federation.

He said that other terms of a permanent truce are "a subject for consideration." He described, "Russia is committed to the complete and definitive resolution of the conflict. The conditions for this are outlined in my speech (to the Foreign Ministry) – the withdrawal of all troops from the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia regions."

Importantly, he additionally acknowledged of Orban's trip, "We perceive the prime minister's visit as an attempt to restore dialogue and give it an additional impetus."

Orban for his part said Hungary considers peace in Europe its main task during the presidency of the EU Council, despite other EU leaders condemning his visit to Moscow. Josep Borrell and others have insisted his trip is not being done in the name of the EU Council.

"I wanted to know what is the shortest way to end the war, and I wanted to know the president's opinion on three issues -- what does he think about the existing peace initiatives on Ukraine, the possibility of a cease-fire and peace talks -- what should be the order to hold them, and the vision of Europe after the war," Orban said.

"There are still a lot of steps to be taken to get closer to the end of the war. We have made the most important step today by establishing contacts and will continue to work in this direction," he told reporters.

There have been other reports this week saying Putin remains open to a 'Trump peace plan' should the Republican frontrunner take office. Zelensky has also demanded to see it, while expressing a cynical view of what conditions it likely contains.

Meanwhile, the view from Putin's national security council...

* * *

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?

(Article by Tyler Durden republished from Zerohedge.com)

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