Vladimir Zelensky (left) said his conversation with Viktor Orban was about “our European affairs”; Photo: REUTERS/Mathias Baglietto
Bertalan Havasi, Mr Orban's press chief, confirmed the apparently spontaneous meeting but did not say whether Mr Zelensky had succeeded in changing the Hungarian prime minister's position.
“With regard to Ukraine's accession to the EU, Viktor Orban has made it clear that the member states of the European Union are constantly discussing this issue,” Mr. Havasi said.
Accession negotiations can only begin if every The EU member state will support them.
“It’s a joke!”
Mr Orban, who boasts of his ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, has repeatedly said he opposes Ukraine joining the bloc.
< p>He also threatened to veto proposals to provide Kiev with £42 billion in additional financial aid between now and 2027.
Securing new financial assistance from Europe is crucial as doubts grow over Kiev's future support from from the US side, which is largely dependent on Western financial assistance.< /p>
“Ukraine is known to be one of the most corrupt countries in the world,” he told French newspaper Le Point on Friday. “This is a joke!”
“We cannot decide to start the process of accession negotiations,” Mr. Orban added.
The Hungarian Prime Minister insisted that Ukraine is not ready to join the EU and that this week's summit on Thursday and Friday will not even discuss the possibility of the war-torn country becoming a member.
Instead, he called for a “strategic discussion” about the long-term sustainability of EU support for Ukraine's defense against Russia.
Zelensky and Orban have a lively chat on the sidelines of Argentina a week before the European Council decides to open accession negotiations with Ukraine, which the Hungarian prime minister opposed. 👀
— Christopher Miller (@ChristopherJM) December 10, 2023
Emmanuel Macron invited Mr Orban to dinner in Paris on Thursday in an attempt to persuade him to support Ukraine.
But Orbán told Le Point that “my idea is to try to convince him to listen to my arguments.”
Mr Zelensky was Mr Miley’s star guest at his inauguration. he was given a menorah over the weekend as a sign of respect for his Jewish heritage.
He was due to arrive in Washington on Monday for talks with US President Joe Biden and Speaker Mike Johnson. House of Representatives, on the ongoing Russian war in Ukraine and the “vital importance” of continued US assistance to Kyiv.