Hungarian foreign minister: EU smears advocates of Kyiv-Moscow peace talks as spies, Kremlin propagandists
By Richard Brown // Sep 06, 2023

It is unfortunate that anyone advocating for an immediate ceasefire and peace talks to end the Russia-Ukraine conflict is often condemned and labeled as a "Russian spy" or a "Kremlin propagandist," says Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto.

He made this comment during an Aug. 29 visit to Slovenia, where he criticized the European Union's approach to the ongoing war. He pointed out that the EU's usual stance of advocating peace talks in armed conflicts was not applied to this particular situation.

"In remote armed conflicts, the EU's Foreign Affairs Council usually calls for peace talks between the opposing parties, but the opposite principle is applied toward the conflict between Russia and Ukraine," Szijjarto stated.

The Hungarian official expressed concern over Brussels' weakened position in recent years – particularly in the areas of security, economy and energy security. He attributed this decline to a series of decisions, or lack thereof, made by the EU. Regarding security, he highlighted the serious consequences of the Ukraine conflict on the EU's immediate neighborhood, emphasizing that Hungarians were also affected by the fighting.

Szijjarto stressed the need for sensible reforms within the EU and advocated for prioritizing the enlargement of the bloc. He specifically mentioned the importance of admitting Western Balkan states, with the belief that it would significantly strengthen the community.

Additionally, he addressed economic cooperation with China, noting the shift in global GDP shares between the EU and China. Szijjarto argued against cutting economic ties with China, referring to it as "de-risking," and instead suggested that strong economic cooperation with China could contribute to the EU's economic growth.

Putin: Moscow not rejecting peace talks to end the war

In August, the EU's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell pushed for a ministerial-level meeting in late September to discuss peace in Ukraine. Speaking at a press conference in the Spanish town of Santander, he said officials are "working on a high-level gathering" that will "probably take place" in September.

Borrell was referring to a plan to upgrade a meeting at the political directors' level on the margins of the UN General Assembly in New York to a ministerial. The meeting would follow talks that took place with more than 40 countries – including China – in early August in the city of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.

According to Borrell, the Jeddah meeting was "another step by Ukraine to get the international community to put pressure on Russia to stop the war." He added: "Only Russia can stop it. Russia started it and Russia has to end it."

In July, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he does not reject peace talks to end the conflict. Speaking following meetings with African leaders in Saint Petersburg, Putin suggested that African and Chinese initiatives could serve as a foundation for finding a peaceful resolution. (Related: Peace talks over Russia-Ukraine conflict could be held as soon as July, German media reports.)

However, he also emphasized that a ceasefire couldn't be considered while the Ukrainian army remained on the offensive. Regarding peace talks, both Ukraine and Russia have previously outlined their respective preconditions for negotiations. Kyiv insists it won't cede any territory, while Moscow asserts that Kyiv must accept the "new territorial reality" of Russia's occupation of Ukrainian territory.

The Russian leader also defended the arrest of voices critical of the "special military operation," claiming some people were harming the country from the inside. Criticism of Moscow's invasion of Ukraine is outlawed and most prominent opposition members are behind bars or in exile.

Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, leading to the occupation of territories in the country's south and east.

Visit for more stories about peace talks to end the Russia-Ukraine war.

Watch this Russia Today report pointing out how Russia wasn't invited during the "peace meeting" for Ukraine in Saudi Arabia.

This video is from the High Hopes channel on

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