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Russia Suffers ‘Significant Losses’, Orban Says Ukraine ‘Can’t Win’, Belarus Calls for Peace Talks

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has insisted Ukraine cannot defeat Russia, and that the EU should therefore prepare a plan B for dealing with the conflict.

In an interview with Hungarian state radio, the nationalist leader said the EU’s strategy towards the Ukraine war had “failed”.

“Today everyone knows, but does not dare to say it out loud, that this strategy has failed. Obviously, this won’t work. The Ukrainians will not win on the battlefield,” he said, declaring that there is no reason to spend Hungarian taxpayers’ money on helping Ukraine.

Aid from the West is widely seen as crucial to Ukraine’s ability to defend itself against the Russian invasion, though some politicians in Europe and the US are growing weary of providing more support. 

Hungary’s Oxford-educated leader is considered an ally of Putin. He has blocked the release of EU funds to Ukraine since Kyiv put the Hungarian OTP Bank on its list of international sponsors of war.

Earlier today, Lithuania’s President Gitanas Nausėda said Orban needed to stop “flirting” with Russia, pointing to his meeting with Putin in mid-October. 

“It’s really more than strange to see that we start to flirt with the regime which is committing […] very cruel atrocities in the territory of Ukraine,” he said in Brussels. 

“It sends a very wrong message to everybody, first to the international community and also to Ukraine.”

Ukrainian soldiers walk by the graves of fellow soldiers in Kharkiv, Ukraine, Thursday, Feb. 16, 2023.

Russia suffering ‘significant losses’ in Ukraine, White House says

US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said on Thursday Moscow has suffered “significant losses” in its new offensive in Ukraine.

Kirby added that Russia’s army had lost at least 125 armoured vehicles around the Ukrainian town of Avdiivka in the eastern Donetsk region, and more than a battalion’s worth of equipment.

“It is unsurprising that Russian forces are suffering from poor morale,” he said in a press briefing at the White House. 

Moscow has recently stepped up its attacks on the battlefield in a bid to push the front forward before winter.

Yet the US official warned that with more Russian attacks anticipated Putin’s troops still maintain some offensive capability, adding that they may be able to achieve some tactical gains in the coming months.

On Thursday, Russian lawmakers also adopted their draft budget for 2024-26, which includes a 68 per cent increase in military spending.

According to the government’s proposal, the new military budget will exceed all social expenditures for the first time in Russian history by more than 25 per cent.

Belarus calls for talks on ‘land and peace’ in Ukraine

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko called to immediately stop the hostilities in Ukraine and to hold negotiations “about land and about peace.”

“I believe that there are enough smart people in Ukraine. It is necessary to sit down at a negotiation table and negotiate,” Lukashenko was quoted as saying by Russia’s state-owned TASS news agency. 

“As I said once: no preconditions are necessary. The most important thing is to give a stop command. To say: let’s stop at midnight, no forces shall move, no one shall shoot, no one shall pull reserves, no communications to be restored. We stop and we negotiate. About land and about peace.”

Belarus’s autocratic premier said negotiations needed to begin because Washington has hinted that US aid for Kyiv is “not limitless”.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy recently signed a formal decree ruling out the prospect of talks with Putin specifically, while leaving the door open to talks with Russia in some other form.

After 18 months of grinding conflict, Ukrainians remain deeply committed to winning the war with Russia. 

A Gallup poll from October shows three in five want to keep fighting until they win, though 31% want the war to end as soon as possible.

Source : Euro News