Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban on Thursday insisted on calling Russia's invasion of Ukraine a “military operation,” mirroring language used by the Kremlin.

“It is a military operation... as long as there is no declaration of war between the two countries,” the nationalist leader told reporters during his annual press conference.

“When the Russians declare war on Ukraine, then it will be war,” he said.

“In a strict sense, let us rejoice as long as there is no war. If there is war there is general mobilization and I wouldn't wish that on anybody,” he added.

Orban was asked why he described the war as a “military operation” during his October meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Beijing.


Orban is the only EU leader who has maintained close ties with the Kremlin following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Orban and Putin met in Beijing on Oct. 17 to discuss energy cooperation.

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