Russia suffers “huge losses,” Orban says Ukraine “cannot win,” and Belarus calls for peace talks

All the latest developments from the war in Ukraine.

Orban: Ukraine ‘cannot win on the battlefield’

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Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban insists that Ukraine cannot defeat Russia, and therefore the European Union must prepare an alternative plan to deal with the conflict.

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

“Today everyone knows, but does not dare to say out loud, that this strategy has failed. It is clear that this will not 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 a Russian invasion, although some politicians in Europe and the United States are increasingly wary of providing more support.

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

Earlier today, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda said Orban needed to stop “flirting” with Russia, referring to his meeting with Putin in mid-October.

“It is really more than strange to see that we are starting to flirt with the system that commits crimes […] “We committed extremely brutal atrocities on the territory of Ukraine,” he said in Brussels.

He added: “This sends a very wrong message to everyone, first to the international community and also to Ukraine.”

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The White House: Russia suffered “significant losses” in Ukraine

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

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

“It is not surprising that Russian forces suffer from low morale,” he said at a White House press conference.

Moscow has recently intensified its attacks on the battlefield in an attempt to push the front forward before winter.

However, the US official warned that with more Russian attacks expected, Putin’s forces still retain some offensive capability, adding that they may be able to make some tactical gains in the coming months.

Russian lawmakers on Thursday also adopted their draft budget for 2024-2026, which includes a 68 percent increase in military spending.

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

Belarus calls for talks on “land and peace” in Ukraine

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko called for an immediate cessation of hostilities in Ukraine and negotiations “about land and peace.”

“I think there are enough smart people in Ukraine. It is necessary to sit at the negotiating table and negotiate,” Russia’s state-owned TASS news agency quoted Lukashenko as saying.

“As I once said: There is no need for preconditions. The most important thing is to issue an order to stop. Let us say: Let us stop at midnight. No troops will move, no one will fire, no one will withdraw reserves, and communications will not be cut.” We got back. We stop and negotiate. About the earth and about peace.

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The authoritarian Belarusian prime minister said negotiations should begin because Washington had hinted that US aid to Kiev was “not without limits.”

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky recently signed an official decree specifically ruling out the possibility of talks with Putin, while leaving the door open for talks with Russia in another capacity.

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

An October Gallup poll shows that three out of five want to keep fighting until they win, although 31% want the war to end as soon as possible.

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