Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán says Donald Trump would end war in Ukraine by cutting off funds to Kyiv

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. Photo credit: CNN

Story by CNN

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has said Donald Trump would effectively end the war in Ukraine by cutting off funding to Kyiv, should the former US president return to power in November.

"He (Trump) has a very clear vision," Orbán said in an interview to Hungarian broadcaster M1 broadcast on Sunday. "He says the following: first, he will not give a single penny for the Russo-Ukrainian war. That's why the war will end, because it's obvious that Ukraine cannot stand on its own two feet."

Orbán's comments came after Trump hosted the Hungarian strongman at Mar-a-Lago on Friday. The former president and a small group of close advisers met with Orbán at the Florida resort for roughly an hour Friday night, sources familiar with the matter told CNN, with one of the sources describing it as a "social meeting" with no agenda. A separate source called it "friendly."

Orbán has been a longstanding opponent to European Union and NATO efforts to assist Ukraine since Russia's full-scale invasion two years ago. Hungary has consistently bogged down Western aid negotiations, though it did recently sign off on a 50 billion euro aid package for Kyiv and approve Sweden's accession to NATO after holding out for months.

"If the Americans don't give money and weapons, along with the Europeans, the war will end. And if the Americans don't give money, then the Europeans won't be able to fund this war alone. And then the war will end," Orbán said.

CNN has reached out to the Trump campaign for comment.

Orbán, one of Russian President Vladimir Putin's few allies left in Europe, frames his position as "pro-peace" despite the fact that it would effectively reward Moscow for waging war against a weaker neighbor and allow it to sue for peace on its own terms.

Trump, who last week effectively locked up the Republican nomination for president, has taken a similar isolationist approach as he campaigns to retake the White House in November. He has vowed to end the war in Ukraine, if he's elected, within 24 hours - a process that could happen only on Putin's terms and reward his illegal invasion.

Orbán and Trump, both far-right populists defined by anti-immigrant and demagogic rhetoric, have long expressed mutual admiration for each other - despite the fact that critics say Orbán has weakened the country's democratic institutions since returning to power in 2010.

Trump's lavish praise for Orban has sparked concern that he is doubling down on his support for autocrats as Western democracies struggle to stay united in their support for Ukraine.

"He likes dealing with other big guys, and big guys like Erdogan in Turkey get to put people in jail and you don't have to ask anybody's permission. He kind of likes that," John Bolton, Trump's former national security adviser, told CNN's Jim Sciutto.

Trump's former advisers say he consistently lavished praise on Putin, and several of them believe that in a potential second term Trump would bring a fundamental shift in America's vision of itself and its role in the world - including potentially pulling the US out of NATO and reducing its commitment to other defense alliances.

"NATO would be in real jeopardy," Bolton said.