Zelensky Rejects Hungarian Ceasefire Proposal

Zelensky reportedly expressed reservations about a ceasefire proposal during a meeting with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, citing past negative experiences with truce talks.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who recently traveled to Kyiv, has stated that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was not receptive to Budapest’s proposal for a temporary ceasefire with Russia. 

During his surprise visit to Ukraine on Tuesday, Orban suggested to Zelensky that he consider “whether it would be possible to take a break. To reach a ceasefire and start negotiations [with Russia] since a quick ceasefire could speed up these negotiations.”  

Prior to the trip, Orban expressed his hope to convince Zelensky that “time is running out and it is important to establish peace, as hundreds of soldiers are dying on the front every day and we do not see how a solution can be found on the battlefield.”  

However, following his conversations with Zelensky, Orban informed the Swiss Die Weltwoche news outlet that the Ukrainian leader “had some doubts” about the ceasefire proposal and “didn’t like it very much.” He explained that Zelensky “had a bad experience in the past with ceasefires, which, in his opinion, did not benefit Ukraine” and believed there were “limits” to what could be achieved. 

Although Zelensky has not publicly commented on Hungary’s proposal, his deputy chief of staff, Igor Zhovka, has declared that Ukraine is not interested in Orban’s proposal and claimed that a ceasefire “cannot be considered in isolation.” 

Instead, Zhovka stated that Kyiv will continue to pursue a resolution to the conflict based on Zelensky’s own ‘peace formula’. The ten-point program, initially proposed in late 2022, calls for the complete withdrawal of Russian forces from territories Kiev claims as its own, reparation payments, and an international war crime tribunal for Russia’s leadership. 

Moscow has vehemently rejected Zelensky’s plan as a non-starter and has emphasized that any peace talks with Kiev must be based on “realities on the ground.”  

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin has outlined his own conditions for starting ceasefire talks, which include a full Ukrainian withdrawal from the regions that voted to be part of Russia, along with legally binding guarantees ensuring that Ukraine will never become a member of NATO.