Ukraine updates: Orban visits Kyiv for first time since war

On July 2, 2024, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy thanked outgoing Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte for the military, political, and humanitarian support provided to Ukraine during a telephone conversation. Rutte is set to become NATO’s secretary-general, following the swearing-in of Dick Schoof as the new Dutch prime minister on the same day.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustem Umerov is currently holding talks with his US counterpart, Lloyd Austin, in Washington, D.C. The discussions are centered on increasing military cooperation between the two countries and addressing regional security issues to strengthen their defense partnership. The talks follow Zelenskyy’s recent plea for more weapons after a Russian air strike in the Zaporizhzhia region killed seven people.

Russia has claimed to have destroyed five Ukrainian SU-27 fighter jets and damaged two more at Ukraine’s Myrhorod airfield in the Poltava region, using Iskander-M missiles. Ukraine confirmed that the airfield was struck but contested the Russian claim of the extent of the damage.

On a related note, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban visited Ukraine for the first time since the full-scale invasion. Orban’s meeting with President Zelenskyy was planned to discuss opportunities for creating peace and Hungarian-Ukrainian bilateral relations. Orban has maintained warm relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and has publicly criticized Europe’s financial and military aid for Ukraine. He has also criticized Brussels’ efforts to open formal European Union membership talks with Kyiv.

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