Hungary offers capital as venue for Russia-Ukraine peace talks

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Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjarto offered Budapest as a venue for peace talks between Russia and Ukraine late on Friday night on his Facebook account

“Due to a dispute on the possible location — in Minsk, Warsaw — of peace talks, I recommended Budapest to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and to Andriy Yermak, chief of cabinet of President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky,” Szijjarto said in a video message posted on his Facebook page.

He added that neither party rejected the proposition during the telephone conversations, Xinhua news agency reported.

Budapest can serve as a safe place for both the Russian and Ukrainian negotiating delegations, the top Hungarian diplomat said.

“The sooner talks begin, the sooner there will be peace and the fewer people will have to die in the war,” he said.

Szijjarto was speaking from the airport in Brussels, where he participated in an extraordinary meeting of European Union foreign ministers.

From Belgium he was travelling to New York to discuss the conflict with United Nations leaders.

The Ukrainian president on Friday reiterated his call for Russian President Vladimir Putin to hold talks to stop the conflict.

“Fighting is going on all over Ukraine. Let’s sit down at the negotiating table,” Zelensky was quoted by the Interfax-Ukraine news agency as saying.

Putin said Moscow is ready to negotiate with Ukraine, Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency tweeted on Friday.

On Thursday, Putin authorised “a special military operation” in Donbass.

At least 137 Ukrainians were killed and more than 300 injured in the military operation, Zelensky said earlier.

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