Kremlin says Russia appreciates Hungary efforts to clarify positions on Russia-Ukraine conflict

Hungary's Prime Minister Orban and Russia's President Putin attend a press conference in Moscow

MOSCOW (Reuters) - The Kremlin on Monday said that Russia appreciated the efforts of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban to clarify the positions of Russia and Ukraine on resolving their conflict.

Orban held talks on a potential Ukrainian peace deal with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday, angering some European Union leaders who warned against appeasing Moscow.

On Monday he met Chinese President Xi Jinping during an unexpected visit to Beijing. He described it as the third leg of a "peace mission". The initiative does not have the backing of the European Commission or Ukraine.

"Mr. Orban is taking a serious initiative to compare the positions of the different sides based on original sources, and we appreciate these efforts of Mr. Orban," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told a news briefing.

"There is a whole set of disagreements among the parties concerned, but at least Mr. Orban is making a very serious attempt to understand the essence of these disagreements, which is very much appreciated," Peskov said.

The Hungarian leader is traveling to Washington on Monday, where his government said he will participate in the NATO summit this week.

Asked by reporters if Putin had sent a message through Orban to U.S. President Joe Biden and other NATO leaders, Peskov said no.

(Reporting by Reuters; Writing by Lucy Papachristou; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Philippa Fletcher)