EU, Kyiv condemn Orban for meeting Putin

Brussels and Kyiv hit out at Hungarian leader Viktor Orban on Friday after Russian President Vladimir Putin hosted him in Moscow for talks on the Ukraine conflict.

Putin told Orban, Russia's closest EU ally, that Ukraine must withdraw its troops from regions that Moscow has annexed if it wants peace.

Orban's visit to Moscow comes days after he made a surprise trip to Kyiv, where he urged Ukraine's leadership to work towards a rapid ceasefire with Russia.

But Kyiv was "not ready to drop the idea of waging war until a victorious end", he added, calling the talks at the Kremlin a "really useful, frank conversation" on the conflict.

EU officials, the United States and NATO blasted the Hungarian prime minister's surprise trip.

The visit came days after Hungary took over the EU's rotating presidency and Putin told Orban he expected him to outline "the position of European partners" on Ukraine.

The Ukrainian foreign ministry lambasted the meeting, stressing that the trip "was made by the Hungarian side without any agreement or coordination with Ukraine".

No EU mandate

European Union leaders also lashed out at Orban over the trip.

"Appeasement will not stop Putin," European Commission head Ursula von der Leyen wrote on X.

"Only unity and determination will pave the path to a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in Ukraine.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said in a statement that Orban's "visit to Moscow takes place, exclusively, in the framework of the bilateral relations between Hungary and Russia".

"Orban has not received any mandate from the EU Council to visit Moscow," he added.

(With newswires)

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