Putin looks to Orbán for an ally against the West

Putin looks to Orbán for an ally against the West
Vladimir Putin and Viktor Orbán. Credit: Belga

Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated Hungarian leader Viktor Orbán on his victory in the elections, expressing hope for stronger ties between Moscow and Budapest.

“The Russian head of state is certain that, despite a difficult international situation, the future development of bilateral ties and partnership (between the two countries) will correspond to the interests of the peoples of Russia and Hungary,” the Russian leader said in a Telegram message to Orbán, according to a presidential press release.

Putin also received the news of Serbia's leader Aleksandar Vucic re-election warmly, stating he hoped to build on their "strategic partnership".

Orbán and Putin have maintained close ties for a long time, despite the several crises between Moscow with the EU and NATO, of which Hungary is a member.

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During the Russian-Western crises that preceded Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Orbán and Putin had met face to face in Moscow, where Orbán displayed his complicity with the Kremlin’s head.

The conservative Hungarian Prime Minister displays closeness to Moscow on many issues. For instance, Hungary was the first country in Europe to use the Russian anti-Covid vaccine Sputnik V, although it is not recognised by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).

Orbán has also refused to deliver weapons to Ukraine or consider sanctions that would deprive Hungarians of Russian oil and gas in response to Russia’s ongoing military operation in Ukraine.

The EU has regularly criticised Orbán's practices in Hungary, with complaints regarding insufficient democratic standards, abuse of EU funds and human rights violations.

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