White House urged to sanction EU state
US Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Illinois) has urged the Biden administration to consider sanctioning Hungary over its reluctance to approve the EU ban on Russian oil.
Krishnamoorthi sent a letter last week to Secretary of State Antony Blinken urging him to take measures to ensure the approval of the sixth package of sanctions on Russia by the EU. Since Russia launched its military offensive in Ukraine in late February, the bloc has imposed sweeping sanctions on Moscow. The sixth package includes a partial embargo on Russian oil.
Due to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s previous threats to veto the package, Krishnamoorthi advised the Biden administration to “consider all tools including sanctions to secure a final deal with Hungary to ban Russian oil.”
“The United States should show unity with our EU partners and leverage all available tools to support the EU’s proposed oil embargo,” he said.
Krishnamoorthi even specified what kind of sanctions he would like to see placed on Budapest. “The Biden Administration should consider implementing sanctions against companies in Hungary that continue to do business with Russian oil exporters if Prime Minister Orban continues to stall EU negotiations.”
However, over the last week, the EU leadership managed to reach an agreement with Hungary. The sixth round of sanctions received final approval on Friday. It includes a partial ban on Russian oil, cuts off Sber, Russia’s largest bank, from the SWIFT financial messaging system, bans three more Russian broadcasters from the EU, and imposes further individual sanctions on Russian citizens.
Hungary, along with other countries which rely heavily on Russian energy, will be given a waiver. Orban commented on the news by saying, “Hungarian families can sleep well.”
According to the prime minister’s political director, Balazs Orban, Budapest also received guarantees from the EU that if something happens with the Druzhba pipeline, through which the landlocked country obtains about 60% of its crude from Russia, any shortfall will be made up for.