Hungary’s foreign ministry signed a cooperation agreement with the government of Voronezh region, Russia, in Budapest on Wednesday.
The agreement, signed by Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó and Voronezh Governor Aleksei Gordeyev, aims to strengthen ties between Hungary and the region in the areas of trade, science, humanitarian aid and culture.
Szijjártó said the agreement would broaden opportunities for Hungarian farming and food industry companies. He said Hungary already exports planting seeds, livestock and eggs to Voronezh, while it imports artificial fertiliser from the oblast. He noted that Voronezh’s state university has a partnership with the University of Debrecen, in eastern Hungary. As we wrote on August, the University of Debrecen awarded Russian President Vladimir Putin the title “civis honoris causa”.
Gordeyev acknowledged cooperation between the region and Hungary in the areas of farming, tourism and education.
Gordeyev also met with Hungarian Defence Minister István Simicskó. The parties reiterated their commitment to the project of the “Don Express”, a memorial railway route commemorating the 75th anniversary of the WWII battle at the Don river.
In 1943, the 2nd Hungarian army fought on the Eastern Front as an ally of Germany and suffered catastrophic losses when the Soviet army broke through the front not far from Voronezh, at the Don river. An estimated 125,000 Hungarian troops suffered injuries, died, disappeared or fell into captivity.
The “Don Express” will leave from Budapest and pass the main venues of the battle,
the defence ministry said in a statement. The project will be a joint effort of the Russian and Hungarian railways, it said. Gordeyev pledged full support for the project and suggested an interstate agreement to cement cooperation.