Russian President Vladimir Putin has agreed a deal to keep supplying gas to Hungary during a visit to Budapest.
Russia is Hungary’s largest supplier of gas and an existing supply agreement expires this year.
With Putin increasingly isolated from many European leaders, his visit underlines his close ties with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government.
At a joint press conference, Orban said: “We are sure that the exclusion of Russia from Europe is not a reasonable thing. We cannot create the safety of the region against Russia. We can only create it by cooperating with Russia. So, we are sure that we have to negotiate, negotiate, negotiate.”
Moscow has been largely shunned by EU member states because of the Ukraine conflict, but denies accusations of backing the violence.
Putin said: “It would be to no end if those who make decisions fail to conclude that solving this (Ukraine conflict) militarily is impossible. It can be done only peacefully.”
Tuesday’s visit was Putin’s first bilateral visit to an EU member state since June 2014.