Top NewsRussian missiles hit Ukraine as Viktor Orbán called for...

Russian missiles hit Ukraine as Viktor Orbán called for a ceasefire in China

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Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban made a surprise visit to Beijing on Monday, where Chinese President Xi Jinping called for a global effort to push Russia and Ukraine toward a “ceasefire” and praised Orban’s diplomatic efforts. It was a powerful display of how Xi and Russian President Vladimir Putin are trying to create a multilateral world order that is not dominated by the United States.

Even as Xi embraced Orban in the Chinese capital, Russian missiles smashed into Kyiv, Dnipro and other Ukrainian cities on Monday — killing at least 31 people, including two at a children’s hospital in Kyiv, and highlighting the brutality of Putin’s war.

In response to the missile attack, but apparently new diplomatic maneuvers, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called for global pressure to stop Russia’s aggression. “The whole world must use all its determination to put a final end to the Russian strikes,” Zelensky posted on Telegram. “Killing is what Putin brings. Only together can we bring real peace and security.”

The Russian Defense Ministry confirmed in a telegram that it had carried out a major missile strike on Ukraine on Monday, but insisted that the targets were “Ukrainian military industrial facilities” and “airbases”.

Orban’s visit to China follows visits to Kyiv and Moscow last week, just days after Hungary assumed the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union. His efforts to make peace have drawn criticism in the West, as has his attempt to pressure Kiev into surrendering territory that Moscow had forcibly seized.

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In Brussels, officials rejected Orbán’s efforts, saying he did not have the authority to conduct diplomacy for the EU, and “it should be clear that he is only representing his own country,” an EU diplomat said, because they were not recognized. Talk to the media.

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Eric Mamer, a spokesman for the European Commission, insisted that Orban was flying solo. “He has no mandate in these visits to represent the EU,” Maymer said.

But Putin, who welcomed Orban in Moscow last week, pointed to Hungary’s EU presidency. In a sign of a new multilateral dimension in geopolitics, the Hungarian prime minister’s visit to Beijing came hours before Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Moscow for a state visit, his first since Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

In a statement before his departure from New Delhi on Monday, Modi praised “my friend Vladimir Putin” and the “special and privileged strategic partnership between India and Russia”. After he landed, Russian and Indian media showed Modi, dressed in a bright turquoise robe, arriving at his Moscow hotel, flanked by Indian dancers and well-wishers waving Indian flags.

Indian purchases of Russian oil, which have risen 20-fold since 2021, have helped Moscow withstand tough Western sanctions imposed in response to its invasion of Ukraine.

Modi, who was re-elected last month, was flaunting his autonomy with a visit to Moscow, despite the Biden administration’s hard work to court the Indian leader’s commitment.

“Mr. Putin will want to convey to the public: India is a friend, all this talk of isolating Russia is empty talk, not everyone is under the control of the US-led West, an asymmetrical but multilateral world has arrived,” said Nandan Unnikrishnan, at the Observer Research Foundation, a think tank in New Delhi. Director of the Eurasian Project “India will recognize that this is a multipolar world [India] It is slightly inclined towards the west.

Orban’s trip to China represented a diplomatic victory for Putin, who has long called for such a multilateral, non-Western world order. Putin has insisted that the West, particularly the United States and Britain, is responsible for the continuation of his war in Ukraine, not pressuring Kiev to capitulate to its territorial claims.

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Upon landing in China, Orban Posted a photo Captioned himself on X: “Peacework 3.0 #Beijing.”

In a meeting with Orban in Beijing, Xi said he appreciated the Hungarian leader’s efforts to bring about a political solution to the war in Ukraine, which he described as a “conflict”.

“China and Hungary share the same basic positions and work in the same direction,” he said.

“Only if all major powers exert positive energy rather than negative energy will the dawn of a ceasefire appear soon in this conflict,” Xi said, according to Chinese broadcaster CCTV. China, Xi added, “seriously advocates peace and supports negotiations in its own way.”

People clear debris and search through the rubble after a Russian strike hit a key children’s hospital in Kyiv on July 8. (Video: Reuters)

In an interview with the German newspaper Bild, Orban insisted that Ukraine could never defeat Russia. “There is no solution to this conflict on the front line,” he added: “Putin can’t lose if you look at the soldiers, equipment and technology. Defeating Russia is hard to imagine. The probability of Russia actually being defeated is absolutely incalculable.

Meanwhile, with Russian forces occupying a fifth of its territory and missiles and bombs raining down on its cities, Ukraine has insisted it cannot agree to any ceasefire. At a “peace” summit in Switzerland last month, Zelensky called for the complete withdrawal of Russian troops, including China’s conspicuous absence. Russia was not invited.

Beijing has dismissed criticism from Ukraine, Europe and the United States over its decision to skip the Swiss-hosted peace conference, arguing that Russia cannot participate in the talks if it is excluded. China, along with Brazil, instead offered its own six-point proposal, which Chinese officials said had the support of dozens of countries in the developing world.

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From Beijing’s perspective, the West has acted as an obstacle for Russia and Ukraine to sit down and negotiate directly, said Qi Hongjian, an international relations scholar at Beijing Foreign Studies University. Beijing “must have a voice, it must have a position,” Cui said.

China’s purported neutrality has seen China’s trade with Russia grow as the war drags into its third year – with mounting evidence that Chinese companies provide economic and indirect support to Russia’s military-industrial base.

In public statements and appearances, Putin and Xi have shown greater alignment in their shared ambition to reshape the global order and weaken US influence.

Xi and Putin met last week in Kazakhstan, where Putin spoke of progress toward a “fair, multilateral world order” during the annual meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

At that meeting, Putin suggested resuming talks in Istanbul in 2022, after Russia’s invasion, when Ukraine was in a fragile state. Over the years, each side has suffered tens of thousands of casualties, and Russia has made little progress in illegally annexing four southeastern Ukrainian regions, except for Crimea, which it seized by force in 2014.

In Moscow on Monday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Moscow supported diplomatic efforts.

“President Vladimir Putin is a firm supporter of prioritizing political and diplomatic efforts to resolve the Ukrainian conflict,” Peskov said.

Shepherd reported from Taipei, Taiwan and Shih from New Delhi. Serhii Korolchuk in Kiev, Kate Brady in Berlin, Emily Rauhala in Washington and Natalia Appakumova in Riga, Latvia contributed to this report.

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