According to the Western press, several thousand Hungarians took to the streets of Budapest to protest against the visit of President Putin to Hungary. Protesters marched between the two capital's main train depots, the Eastern and Western stations, Joinfo.ua reports referring to AFP.
According to the organizers of the march, they want the country to be West-oriented rather than Russia-oriented.
" We resent that (Prime Minister Viktor) Orban is making a fool out of Hungary by inviting Putin here to do secret deals while there is a war next door in Ukraine," said Marton Gulyas, one of the organizers of the rally.
"I lived most of my life under communist rule, I don't want this country to fall under Russian influence again," said Maria Toth, 67-year-old participant in the protest, standing behind the banner "Putin – No! Europe – Yes!"
According to the Western press, President Putin will arrive in Hungary today, February 17, to hold talks with Orban. Nothing is known about the purpose of the talks. Apparently Hungarian leader wants to negotiate a flexible long-term agreement on gas supplies from Russia.
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Hungary called Putin's visit crucial for energy security of the country.
But political analysts say that Putin may try to put pressure on Orban so that he slows down the introduction of European sanctions against Russia. Since so far, Hungary supports the European Union sanctions against Russia.