Zelensky’s intense-looking chat with Hungary’s Orban.
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Zelensky’s intense-looking chat with Hungary’s Orban.

Volodymyr Zelensky had a brief, but intense conversation with the man threatening Ukraine’s EU ambitions.

Viktor Orban, Hungary’s prime minister, met with him at Argentina’s new president’s inauguration.

Kyiv’s application to join the EU has been opposed by Mr Orban.

President Zelensky and the man widely viewed as a “bad boy” of the EU might only be understood by professional lip-readers.

However, the exchange comes ahead of what could be a crucial week for Ukraine’s war effort.

On Tuesday, Zelensky will travel to Washington DC to negotiate the rescue of $60 billion (£47.9 billion; €55 billion) in US defence aid.

President Joe Biden is urging lawmakers to approve the funds, but the aid has become embroiled in partisan politics.

In September last year, the Ukrainian leader visited the White House for the first time since Russia began its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Republicans argue that more funding should be allocated to border security at the US-Mexico border, which has stalled the bill in Congress.

On his visit to Washington, President Zelensky is also expected to meet with new Republican House Speaker Mike Johnson.

During the EU leaders’ meeting in Brussels on Thursday, the plan, at the very least, is to begin formal “accession” talks with Ukraine.

While there is no guarantee of success, that is the next step on the long and winding road to full EU membership.

In addition, a €50bn (£43bn; $53.8bn) package of financial assistance was due to be approved.

Viktor Orban, however, has threatened to derail both, causing frustration in EU capitals and anger in Kiev.

It has been argued that Mr Orban is a “mouthpiece” for Vladimir Putin, since he has maintained ties with him despite Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.