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Hungary’s Orbán congratulates Putin on election victory

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Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has congratulated Russian President Vladimir Putin on his re-election.

Orban’s spokesman Bertalan Havasi released the message on Thursday, the Hungarian state news agency MTI reported.

Orbán wrote that it was gratifying that “the cooperation between Hungary and Russia is based on mutual respect, which makes it possible to discuss important issues in the current difficult geopolitical situation.”

Referring to Russia’s war against Ukraine, Orbán wrote that Hungary is “on the side of peace” and is convinced that maintaining dialogue is a prerequisite for its early establishment. Hungary wants to strengthen cooperation with Russia in areas where this “does not infringe international law.”

Brussels was quick to criticize the message. The President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola, said at the current EU summit that she would “not join in the congratulations,” insisting that the election in Russia was neither free nor fair.

“We are talking about a country that illegally invaded another country, a country whose leader did not stop in 2008, did not stop in 2014 and definitely shows no signs of stopping now,” Metsola continued.

Even before the summit began, Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas also voiced criticism. “I refuse to call it elections. I call it a special nomination operation.”

Kallas was alluding to the fact that the war against Ukraine is not referred to as such in Russia – officially, the Kremlin refers to it as a “special military operation”. Kallas emphasized that Russia’s aim was to undermine European elections and make people believe “that everything is the same.”

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