Hungary will veto the adoption of the European Union’s 12th sanctions package against Russia if it encompasses the gas, oil, and nuclear sectors of Russia’s industry, Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó, said in an interview with the Russian propaganda outlet RIA Novosti published on Oct. 28.
“I can state with certainty: if the next package contains elements that run counter to our national interests, we will unequivocally reject its approval,” Szijjártó said.
He said these “red lines” were justified because such sanctions could inflict damage on Hungary’s national economy.
The Hungarian diplomat also argued that the current sanctions policy serves little purpose, contending that it doesn’t yield the desired results and instead inflicts considerable harm on the European economy and its member states.
“If a sanctions policy causes more harm to its enforcers than to its intended targets, what purpose does it serve to persist with it?” Szijjártó said.
Additionally, Szijjártó asserted that Hungary has not suffered any adverse actions from Russia; conversely, he claimed Russia had “saved the lives of Hungarians” by facilitating the procurement of vaccines and ensuring energy supplies.
“Why include those who have benefitted Hungary, those who have saved the lives of Hungarians, for instance, by enabling vaccine purchases, or those playing a vital role in securing our energy supply, in a sanctions list when it is known that these individuals have not acted detrimentally towards our country?” the minister said.
According to Szijjártó, Hungary applied this principle to block the imposition of EU sanctions on Russian Deputy Prime Minister Denis Manturov, asserting that he had greatly assisted Hungary. Hungary also opposed sanctions on Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko and Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin, underlining that “sports should not be confused with politics.”
In prior remarks, Bulgarian Prime Minister Nikolay Denkov accused Hungary and Serbia of enabling the Kremlin’s military buildup and failing to seek alternative energy sources amidst gas import tax disputes.
Members of the European Parliament have also criticized Hungary for non-compliance with EU law and a lack of genuine cooperation. They condemned the government’s systemic corruption and its anti-EU rhetoric.
European MEPs initiated a resolution that could disqualify Hungary from holding the EU presidency in 2024 due to multiple violations of EU regulations.
Hungary has consistently obstructed EU assistance to Ukraine and the introduction of new sanctions against Russia. Notably, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban recently expressed his pride in meeting Russian dictator Vladimir Putin in China.
Hungary once again blocked a EUR 500 million EU military aid package for Ukraine on Oct. 23.
On Oct. 26, Orban expressed his desire to meet with a Ukrainian delegation in Budapest before the EU’s decision on the eighth tranche of EUR 500 million in military aid to Ukraine.
During the EU summit on Oct. 27, both Hungary and Slovakia opposed the allocation of a EUR 50 billion aid package to Ukraine.
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