Hungary hits out against sanctions on Russian oil & gas
Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto has said that Hungary opposes sanctions on Russia’s energy sector, as Western countries hit Moscow with sweeping restrictions over its attack on Ukraine.
“The reality stems from infrastructure and available natural gas resources. Natural gas and oil from Russia are currently dominant in our region,” Szijjarto told reporters during his trip to Serbia on Wednesday.
“That’s why we can’t accept measures imposing a disproportionate burden on Hungary, the Hungarian people,” Szijjarto said.
Prime Minister Viktor Orban made a similar point on Tuesday, arguing that “everyone in Europe suffers” from the effect of sanctions against Moscow. “I made it clear that we condemn Russia’s attack, we condemn the war, but we’ll not allow the price of war to be paid by Hungarian families,” Orban said.
The PM noted that the country gets most of its gas and oil from Russia, while 90% of Hungarian families use gas to heat their homes. “Without any gas and oil, the Hungarian economy simply can’t function.”
On Tuesday, the EU rolled out a plan to make Europe independent from Russian energy “well before 2030.” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that the EU “simply cannot rely on a supplier who explicitly threatens us.”
Russia attacked its western neighbor late last month, arguing it was defending the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, which broke away from Ukraine shortly after the 2014 coup in Kiev. Moscow further said it wanted Ukraine to officially declare itself a neutral country, renouncing its bid to one day join NATO.
Kiev said the attack was entirely unprovoked and appealed for the international community for help. Ukraine also denied claims that it was planning to retake the rebellious republics by force.