Putin Congratulates Hungary's Orban On Landslide Win, Hopes To Deepen Ties

Russian President Vladimir Putin has congratulated Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban following his election victory and stated he hopes to develop deeper ties between the two countries.

Putin hailed Orban, a figure beloved by some notable figures on the American right, after the Hungarian Prime Minister secured a fourth term in office in Sunday's general election.

Due to Hungary's electoral system, Orban's right-wing Fidesz party secured 133 seats out of 199 after winning 53 percent of the vote.

In a Twitter statement released on Monday, the Kremlin said: "President of Russia [Vladimir Putin] sent a congratulatory telegram to Prime Minister of Hungary V. Orban on the occasion of the victory of the party coalition led by him in the elections to the state assembly of Hungary."

An additional statement read: "The head of the Russian state expressed confidence that, despite the difficult international situation, the further development of bilateral ties of partnership fully meets the interests of the peoples of Russia and Hungary."

Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Putin has become a pariah on the international stage with the U.S. and its allies issuing a series of sanctions.

While Hungary has supported sanctions on Russia, Orban is the only leader of a European Union (EU) member state to openly criticize Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

In his victory speech on Sunday, Orban told supporters in the capital Budapest listed his opponents, which included left-wing politicians, Hungarian-born billionaire George Soros "and the Ukrainian president too—we never had so many opponents at the same time," CNN reported.

Zelensky has previously called out Orban's close political ties with Putin and his refusal to send weapons to Ukraine.

During a NATO summit last month, Zelensky called on Orban to be proactive with sanctions as other nations had been.

In the call, the Ukrainian president signaled out Orban and said: "I want to stop here and be honest. Once and for all. You have to decide for yourself who you are with."

Newsweek has contacted Orban's press office for comment.

Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, millions of refugees have fled to neighboring countries in Europe, including Hungary.

Hungary's international spokesperson Zoltan Kovacs claimed in a March 25 Twitter post that Hungary had accepted more than 500,000 refugees into the country and had been "paying special attention to mothers and children."

This figure has been disputed by human rights organization, the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, which called the statistics "misleading."

It claimed most of the Ukrainian refugees who arrived in Hungary had since moved on to travel onward to other countries.

Viktor Orban and Vladimir Putin
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban (L) shakes hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin during their meeting in the Kremlin in Moscow, on September 18, 2018. Putin congrutulated Orban on his election victory. Getty