Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Hungary’s leader Viktor Orban in China on Tuesday, and said he was satisfied to still have ties with some European countries.
It was Putin’s first meeting with a European leader since he launched the February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, which borders Hungary.
Orban has maintained ties with the Kremlin despite Moscow’s offensive.
“Despite the fact that in the current geopolitical conditions, the possibilities for keeping contact and developing relations are very limited, it cannot but cause satisfaction that our ties with many European countries are maintained and developed,” Putin said, according to Russian news agencies.
“One of those countries is Hungary.”
Putin said it was “very important to have the opportunity with an EU country, Hungary, to exchange opinions not only on bilateral issues but on the situation in Europe, in the world.”
Putin last met a European leader in April 2022, when he hosted Austria’s Chancellor Karl Nehammer.
After the Putin meeting, Orban said on Facebook: “In Europe today, one question is on everyone’s mind: will there be a ceasefire in Ukraine?”
He said the “most important thing” for Budapest was to end “the flood of refugees, the sanctions (against Moscow) and the fighting in our neighbouring country.”
The Hungarian nationalist has long said his country will not take in migrants, putting him at loggerheads with Brussels.
He has also spoken out against the huge Western sanctions on Moscow in response to its Ukraine offensive.
“The two leaders discussed Hungarian-Russian cooperation in the fields of gas and oil supplies and nuclear energy,” Orban’s press chief Bertalan Havasi told the MTI news agency.
Hungary has pressed ahead with the expansion of a nuclear plant being worked on by Russia’s state nuclear agency.