Budapest will do everything possible to exclude restrictions on Russian oil supplies via the Druzhba pipeline and nuclear cooperation with Moscow from the next package of EU sanctions, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto stated on Thursday.
According to Szijjarto, the European Commission continues to propose restrictions on Russia that exacerbate the economic crisis in Europe and threaten Hungary’s energy security.
“During the discussions, of course, we will do everything to ensure that oil flows through the Druzhba pipeline and that the Paks Nuclear Power Plant can operate… Of course, we reject all proposals that limit the supply of oil and cooperation in the nuclear field [with Russia],” the minister said.
Hungary, which is heavily dependent on Russian energy, has repeatedly voiced opposition to sanctions imposed on Moscow by the West in response to the Ukraine conflict. It has argued that the restrictions have wreaked havoc on the EU economy, but failed to meaningfully weaken Russia.
Meanwhile, EU leaders have acknowledged that ramping up sanctions against Russia has become increasingly difficult as the bloc runs out of areas to target.
Some member states have drawn red lines on certain items, with Hungary opposing the possibility of restrictions on Russian nuclear energy because of a deal with Moscow to expand its Paks Nuclear Power Plant. Prime Minister Viktor Orban earlier said that this proposal “must obviously be vetoed” by Budapest if floated by the EU. Hungary’s warnings came as Kiev lobbied its Western backers to target the Russian nuclear industry.
The upcoming package of sanctions is expected to be adopted before February 24, the anniversary of the launch of the Russian military operation in Ukraine.
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