Hungary's Viktor Orban takes swipe at 'opponent' Volodymyr Zelenskyy

Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Viktor Orban do not appear to be on the best terms. Credit: AP

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has called Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy an "opponent", in a victory speech following his landslide re-election.

The right-wing nationalist leader said his win will be "remembered for the rest of our lives" because his Fidesz party "had to fight the biggest overwhelming forces", including the left wing, the international mainstream media "and in the end even the Ukrainian president".

“We've never had so many opponents at the same time,” he added, according to translations.

There were hopes across more liberal Western nations that Hungarians would remove Mr Orban from office, given his lack of support for Ukraine's fight against Russia, but his party's coalition swept to victory with 53% of the vote.

The pro-European opposition coalition United for Hungary party managed to get just over 34%, according to the National Election Office.

Despite calls from the left of Hungary for it to support its embattled neighbour, Mr Orban told his supporters the country would remain neutral and maintain its close economic ties with Moscow, including continuing to import Russian gas and oil.

In a video address to EU leaders on March 26, President Zelenskyy made a direct appeal to Mr Orban, urging him to take a clearer stance on Russia's war on Ukraine and support his besieged country.

“Listen, Viktor, do you know what’s going on in Mariupol?" Zelenskyy said, adding: “I want to stop here and be honest, once and for all. You have to decide for yourself who you are with."

Mr Orban responded on social media the next day, writing: “The answer to the question of which side Hungary is on is that Hungary is on Hungary’s side."

On Saturday Mr Zelenskyy said Mr Orban is “virtually the only one in Europe to openly support Mr Putin".

He remains Vladimir Putin's closest ally in the European Union, despite his association with the Russian president appearing to alienate him on the world stage.

In his victory speech, he said: “The whole world has seen tonight in Budapest that Christian democratic politics, conservative civic politics and patriotic politics have won. We are telling Europe that this is not the past, this is the future."

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