Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said that his country supports China’s peace plan for Ukraine, countering Western leaders’ position on the Beijing proposal.
“We also consider China’s peace plan important and support it,” the Hungarian leader said in the national parliament Monday, adding that he wants Hungary to stay out of the war and not deliver weapons to Ukraine.
U.S. and EU officials had dismissed China’s Ukraine peace proposal as an attempt to distract from its pro-Russia stance, and NATO’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said last week that the proposal “doesn’t have much credibility because they have not been able to condemn the illegal invasion of Ukraine.”
Orbán’s remarks drew blowback in parliament on Monday.
“Why did the government side with the murderous Putin? Is it possible that the Hungarian prime minister is an agent of Russia?” former Hungarian prime minister and opposition leader Ferenc Gyurcsány asked during the parliamentary debate following Orbán’s speech.
The Chinese peace plan was presented shortly after U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned that China is considering providing lethal weapons to Moscow to use against Ukraine. Beijing also abstained from a United Nations resolution on Ukraine, which demanded that Russia immediately pull its military out.
Beijing’s 12-point statement, which was released last Friday on the first anniversary of the start of the war, includes criticism of unilateral sanctions, calls to resume peace talks and reduce strategic risks associated with nuclear weapons — and asks to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries, without specifically asking Russia to withdraw its troops.
Nevertheless, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy cautiously welcomed Beijing’s efforts toward ending the war, in what appears to be an attempt to keep dialogue with China open and prevent Beijing from providing weapons to Russia.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov also said that the plan “deserves attention” in a news conference Monday, adding that the details have to be “a subject matter of thorough analysis.”