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‘We will not support sanctions on Russian oil and gas,’ Hungarian foreign minister says

Budapest says it will do ‘everything’ to ensure the safety of its energy supply

Thomas Kingsley
Tuesday 19 April 2022 15:56 BST
Hungary’s foreign minister Peter Szijjarto made the comments at a briefing on Tuesday
Hungary’s foreign minister Peter Szijjarto made the comments at a briefing on Tuesday (AP)

Hungary will not support any sanctions on Russian oil and gas, its foreign minister said on Tuesday, reiterating the stance taken by Budapest last month.

Russian gas shipments to Hungary have been arriving without any disruptions from the war in Ukraine, Peter Szijjarto told a news briefing broadcast on his Facebook page on Tuesday that followed talks with his Turkish counterpart in Ankara.

“We do not support proposals for energy sanctions against Russia,” he told the briefing. Mr Szijjarto added that this applies not only to oil and gas imports but also to cooperation with Russia in nuclear energy – in particular, fuel supplies for the Paks Nuclear Power Plant in Hungary.

The foreign minister said Hungary, which shares a border with Ukraine, will do “everything” to ensure the safety of its energy supply.

In an interview with the BBC earlier this month, Ukraine president Volodmyr Zelensky singled out Germany and Hungary, accusing them of blocking efforts to embargo energy sales, from which Russia stands to make up to £250bn this year.

The west has sought to use sanctions to stop Russia’s offensive against Ukraine (AP)

He said: “We don’t understand how you can make money out of blood. Unfortunately this is what some countries have been doing. European countries.

“For example, and I’d like us to be frank, the oil embargo is, I think, one of the key issues which we know has been blocked by Germany and Hungary among European countries.

“We need to talk together with these countries on how it’s possible for there to be different attitudes to this issue, the oil embargo, within the European Union.”

Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban said last month that although Hungary condemned the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine, it would not support sanctions on Russian oil and gas.

PM Viktor Orban has said he ‘will not allow Hungarian families to be made to pay the price of the war’ (Getty)

“While we condemn Russia’s armed offensive and we also condemn the war, we will not allow Hungarian families to be made to pay the price of the war; and so the sanctions must not be extended to the areas of oil and gas,” Mr Orban said.

According to Mr Orban, restrictions against Russia's oil and gas sector will represent a “disproportionately large burden” for Hungary.

Earlier this month the European Union approved fresh sanctions against Russia, including a historic embargo on coal imports. The EU said it has been working on a round of sanctions against Russia which would include oil imports.

EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell has warned the west that paying for Russian gas and oil helps Russian president Mr Putin to finance his war.

The US has already imposed bans on Russian oil, gas and coal imports while the UK declared a Russian oil boycott to be complete by the end of 2022.

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