Viktor Orbán accused of treason for meeting with Putin
Hungary’s Viktor Orbán “Answers” Biden Troop Hosting Request by Flying To Moscow For Marathon Meeting With Putin
Last week the Biden administration approached Hungary to formally request that it host a temporary deployment of US forces aimed at Russia, amid the ongoing Ukraine crisis which has resulted in a flurry of diplomatic activity and ratcheting accusations. The country’s Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto confirmed days ago it had “received an American request about temporary deployment of troops.”
It appears the White House has received its answer from the ‘wayward’ NATO-member ally, as Viktor Orbán was in Moscow on Tuesday, meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. They greeted each other as old friends and settled in for a marathon meeting, which the Kremlin said lasted nearly five hours.
Breaking with the Western alliance’s security concerns at this crucial time of a Russian troop build up near Ukraine, Orbán unapologetically said, “I would like to establish during these talks that in this difficult period with energy price hikes, we can enlarge the natural gas quantity that has been agreed in Russian-Hungarian relations.”
EU officials and Hungary’s political opposition hurled accusations of “treason” over the visit to Moscow at a moment Russia has come under near-universal condemnation in the West. “Viktor Orbán is undermining joint decisions in Brussels by continuing to veto them,” Hungarian MEP Márton Gyöngyösi was quoted as saying after the trip was first announced.
“In the world of diplomacy, the date and place of a high-level meeting, sometimes even the mere fact, has a very important message value,” he added. Orban himself seems to be fully aware of this, apparently using the opportunity to ultimately snub Biden who from the US president’s entry into office has sought to isolate Orban on the world stage. Citing Gyöngyösi further, Euronews writes:
According to the European lawmaker, the fact that Orban is not negotiating and developing a strategy to defend NATO and the EU during this period, but is negotiating with Russia, is “roughly rubbing against a qualified case of treason”.
But Orban says the talks in the Russian capital are necessary to get more cheap gas from Russia.
Upon the Orban-Putin talks wrapping up, a Kremlin statement said the meeting lasted nearly whopping five hours. In a statement translated by Russian media, Putin said, “In spite of all obstacles, the volume of trade increased by 30% over the past 11 months.” He added: “This is a good sign, and large-scale projects are continuing, such as the construction of nuclear power plants.”
Prime Minister Viktor #Orbán just reminded President #Putin that since their first meeting 13 years ago he is the last remaining EU politician who is still in office. And he intends to stay in office after the April elections in #Hungary, he added. pic.twitter.com/nunxvHp3ZW
— Koskovics Zoltán (@KoskovicsZ) February 1, 2022
Both leaders praised the positive “mutual work” and relationship between the two countries. Orban said, “This is our 13th meeting. That is a rarity. Nearly everyone who was a colleague of mine in the European leadership no longer is. So, you and I have built up 13 years of meaningful memories of the past of Russia and the EU. And, speaking honestly, I’m not planning to leave. There are elections in April, and I’m planning to run in them and win. So, I have a good hunch that you and I will be working together for many more years.”
Further, at a moment much of Western Europe and its ally Washington is charging the Kremlin with seeking to hold the ‘energy weapon’ over Europe to gain Russia’s desired geopolitical outcomes, it appears that Hungary doesn’t have to worry so much.
Putin took the opportunity to again lash out at the West for “ignoring” Russia’s legitimate security concerns regarding NATO expansion…
NEW: Vladimir Putin speaking now alongside Viktor Orban says the US “ignored” Russia’s main concerns, which of course are pulling back NATO forces in Eastern Europe and guaranteeing no NATO ever for Ukraine.
— Christopher Miller (@ChristopherJM) February 1, 2022
Following the meeting, the following was confirmed:
Putin went on to say that Russia and Hungary had signed long-term contracts that would allow the EU nation to purchase discounted gas from Russia until 2036. He also reported that Hungary currently buys gas five times cheaper than the European market rate. “This is primarily the result of your work,” he told his counterpart.
Orban replied that many in Europe are in fear of an upcoming energy crisis, and that Hungary is grateful for the contract.
Meanwhile, as Western media and officials have been expressing increased concern over the question of whether Putin may be successfully “dividing Europe” and NATO unity, it appears that Hungary is a first example showing that yes, this is precisely what’s happening with the Ukraine crisis 2.0. Germany has of course also featured centrally in this, given its refusal to allow German-made weapons to be transferred to Ukraine forces.