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Orban Urges ‘Deal’ With Putin, Rejects Ukraine NATO Membership

(Bloomberg) — The West should make a “deal” with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Ukraine’s new security architecture, which shouldn’t include the return of Crimea nor membership in the NATO military alliance, according to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

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The Hungarian leader, who has faced criticism over his efforts to undermine western sanctions that were imposed on Russia after its invasion of Ukraine, told former Fox News host Tucker Carlson that Ukraine was on track to lose the war because it was outnumbered by Russian troops.

“We should make a deal with the Russians on the new security architecture to provide security and sovereignty for Ukraine but not membership in NATO,” Orban said an interview with Carlson, which was published Wednesday on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Orban said the return of the strategic Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014, before its full-scale invasion of Ukraine last year, was “totally unrealistic.” He also said the best chance for peace was for former US President Donald Trump to return to power and for him to end military support to Ukraine.

Orban has tried to block EU aid, refused to supply arms to Kyiv and has repeatedly said that Ukraine’s counter-offensive was doomed to fail.

Orban’s government has also cut deals with Russia on energy, securing gas supplies and pressing ahead with the Russia-led construction of its nuclear power plant over the reservations of some EU and NATO allies. The Hungarian leader has referenced Putin as a model on which he has built what he calls an “illiberal democracy” that opposes the EU’s multi-cultural values.

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