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Hungary is “at Ukraine’s disposal” during its six-month presidency of the European Union and will help the country wherever it can, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán told a joint press conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv on Tuesday, wishing Ukraine success. Orbán said he had come to Kyiv to achieve progress in bilateral ties. He called the talks constructive, adding a meeting had been long overdue in view of the many issues needing resolution, “over which we have negotiated and debated a lot in the past years”. “We are trying to put the debates of the past behind us and concentrate on the period ahead of us,” he said.
Orbán said he wished that ties between Hungary and Ukraine were much better, and Hungary wanted to sign a comprehensive cooperation agreement with Ukraine, similarly to many of its other neighbours. Hungary is also willing to take part in the modernisation of the Ukrainian economy, he said, adding that the process required a regulated framework. Regarding the situation of the ethnic Hungarian minority in Ukraine, Orbán said he saw a chance for progress. He welcomed Zelensky’s proposal to set up a Ukrainian school in Hungary. Hungary will fund the schools, “and set up as many as necessary. If there’s need for one, then one, and if there’s need for ten, then ten”, he said. Ukrainians have always been present in Hungary, which also has a Ukrainian minority self-government, he said. At the same time, there are many more now with the influx of refugees, he added. Those families need care, work, a livelihood and security, and the children need adequate schools and good teachers, he said, adding it was important that Ukrainians in Hungary felt at home there.