Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday he expects to discuss prospects of a peace settlement in Ukraine at a meeting with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

Opening the meeting in Moscow, Putin said he wanted to learn the EU’s position on the situation in Ukraine from Orban. Hungary took over the six-month rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union from Belgium on July 1.

“I hope we will have the opportunity to exchange views on bilateral relations in this difficult situation. And, of course, to talk about the prospects of the largest European crisis, I mean in the Ukrainian direction,” the Russian leader said.

Putin acknowledged that he was aware of Orban’s trip to Ukraine on July 2.

He was at the Hungarian prime minister’s disposal “to discuss all the nuances of the situation that has developed in the Ukrainian direction,” he added.

“You’re probably aware of my recent address to senior Foreign Ministry staff in Moscow. It outlines our positions on a possible peaceful settlement. And, of course, I am ready to discuss this with you and explain some of the nuances. I hope you will also introduce me to your position and that of your European partners,” he said.

Putin also noted that Russian-Hungarian cooperation has seen a decline, with trade turnover falling by around 35% recently.

Orban, for his part, thanked Putin for agreeing to meet with him despite the current “difficult conditions.”

“I must tell you that the number of countries that can talk to both sides of the conflict is rapidly decreasing. Hungary will soon become, apparently, the only country in Europe that will be able to talk to everyone,” he asserted, adding that he would like to take this opportunity to discuss several important issues with you.

“I would also like to know your position on a number of important issues for Europe,” Orban said.

Orban earlier said he arrived in Moscow with a “peace mission,” noting it was his “second stop” after the July 2 trip to Kyiv.

The EU has backed Ukraine in its conflict with Russia that began in February 2022.

In a separate statement, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the meeting took place at the Hungarian prime minister’s initiative.

“Just the day before yesterday, a proposal was received to conduct such a visit,” he said.

According to Peskov, there will be at least two rounds of talks — with delegations and in-person. The meeting will last “as long as necessary,” he stressed.

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