Hungary has denied a report in the German media that the country is prepared to support an EU ban on Russian oil and gas in response to Moscow’s military campaign in Ukraine.
Budapest reaffirmed its stance on the matter after the German public broadcaster ZDF quoted sources as saying that “hesitant” countries such as Austria, Hungary and Slovakia have “withdrew his veto.”
The international spokesman for the Hungarian government, Zoltan Kovacs, tweeted on Monday: “No, dear ZDF editors, Hungary did not ‘walk away from its veto’. In fact, Hungary’s position on oil and gas sanctions [from] Russia remains unchanged: we do not support them.”
Hungary, which relies heavily on Russian energy imports, has warned that cutting off supplies from Moscow will hurt its economy. “We must not adopt sanctions with which we mainly penalize ourselves instead of those we want to sanction”, Gergely Gulyas, the prime minister’s chief of staff, told Kossuth Radio on Sunday. He explained that his country has been experiencing higher-than-expected inflation, and he is interested in continuing to receive “energy at the cheapest price possible.”
In a separate interview with HirTV, Gulyas confirmed that Budapest will never support an embargo on Russian oil and gas.
The EU unveiled a plan in March to phase out Russian fossil fuels by 2030 but stopped short of an immediate ban, defying calls from kyiv to do so.
On Monday, Reuters quoted EU officials as saying that Brussels could exempt Hungary and Slovakia from the embargo on Russian oil, which is reportedly in the works. The newest sanctions package is expected to be finalized on Tuesday.
After the West froze Russian state assets in response to its military campaign in Ukraine, Moscow demanded that EU members switch to paying for Russian gas in rubles. Russia cut supplies to Poland and Bulgaria last week because they refused to pay in Russian currency.
The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, called for the measure “unjustified and unacceptable”. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov argued on Monday that the demand to pay for gas in rubles is justified because the West had “Stolen” Russian assets, the “most of which had been earned through oil and gas supplies.”
Russia attacked the neighboring state in late February after Ukraine failed to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The protocols negotiated by Germany and France were designed to give breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.
Since then, the Kremlin has demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. kyiv insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it planned to retake the two republics by force.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.