WATCH: Hungarian PM Viktor Orban refuses to applaud Ukrainian President Zelenskyy in Brussels

Hungarian PM Viktor Orban admits EU is close to discussing deploying peacekeeping troops to Ukraine

Image of Hungarian PM Viktor Orban. Credit: Alexandros Michailidis/

Viktor Orban, the Hungarian Prime Minister refused to applaud Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at a meeting of EU leaders in Brussels.

A meeting of the heads of EU nations took place in Brussels this Thursday, February 9. The Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was their special guest and was led into the packed chamber by the European Council President, Charles Michel.

As he approached, the attendees broke into a round of applause but the Hungarian PM Viktor Orban did not join in.

In video footage of the meeting, it was apparent that the leaders of the countries were placed in such a way that Zelenskyy was in front of the Hungarian politician.

Hungary has opposed supplying weapons to Kyiv ever since the conflict in Ukraine started. It also prohibited other nations from crossing its territory to send weapons to Ukraine, as reported by

Peter Szijjarto, the Hungarian Foreign Minister has repeatedly explained that by doing this, Budapest seeks to protect the ethnic Hungarians who live in Transcarpathia. This decision is enshrined in Hungary at the legislative level. The head of the Hungarian Cabinet supported the minister and said that Budapest defends national interests.

On April 2 last year, Zelenskyy criticized Orban’s policies, calling him the only European politician who continues to support Russian President Vladimir Putin. He said that Kyiv was not asking Budapest for specific assistance to confront the Russian Armed Forces, but “did not even get what everyone else is doing”.

Two days later, Orban added Zelenskyy to his list of opponents. “We had to deal with problems, leading international media and, in the end, with the Ukrainian president. We have never had so many opponents. If we work together, we will not be stopped”, the Hungarian news portal 888 quoted him as saying at the time.

Zelenskyy, in turn, accused Orban of callousness and indifference to the fate of Ukrainians, and rejected his criticism of Kyiv.

These disagreements between Viktor Orban and Volodymyr Zelenskyy also concern Transcarpathia, where ethnic Hungarians live. Orban emphasised that not a single Hungarian should be “between the Ukrainian anvil and the Russian sledgehammer”.

Budapest has insistently demanded that Kyiv respect the rights of the ethnic representatives of Hungary. In particular, the authorities of the settlements of Transcarpathia allowed themselves to destroy Hungarian monuments, damaging the cultural heritage of local residents, Orban believed.


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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at