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Hungary affirms stance on Russian energy embargo — Analysis

Hungary has denied a report in the German media which claims 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 reiterated its position after ZDF, the German public broadcaster quoted sources saying that Budapest was saying so. “hesitant”Slovakia and Hungary are examples of countries that have a similar system. “withdrawn their veto.” 

The Hungarian government’s international spokesman, Zoltan Kovacs, tweeted on Monday: “No, dear editors at ZDF, Hungary did not ‘move away from its veto’. In fact, Hungary’s stance on oil and gas sanctions [from] Russia remains unchanged: We do not support them.”

Hungary heavily depends on Russian energy imports for its livelihood and warned against cutting off Russian supply. “We must not adopt sanctions with which we primarily penalize ourselves instead of those we want to sanction,” Gergely Gulyas, the prime minister’s chief of staff, told Kossuth Radio on Sunday. According to him, his country has experienced higher inflation than was expected and that he is keen to continue to receive. “energy at the cheapest possible price.”

Gulyas, in an interview with HirTV also stated that Budapest won’t support an embargo of Russian oil and gaz.

Although the EU announced a March plan to ban Russian fossil fuels, they did not stop short of imposing an immediate ban. This was despite Kiev’s repeated requests.

Reuters reports that EU officials suggested Monday to Reuters that Brussels could exempt Hungary from the Russian oil embargo. The move is reportedly underway. On Tuesday, the latest sanctions package will be completed.

Moscow requested that EU countries pay in rubles for Russian gas after the West had frozen Russian assets as a response to Ukraine’s military campaign. Russia stopped supplies to Poland, and Bulgaria last Wednesday because they refused to pay in Russian currency. 

Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, called it a move “unjustified and unacceptable.”Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov claimed Monday that Russia’s demand for oil in rubles was justified as the West has already paid. “stolen”Russian assets “majority of which had been earned through the supplies of gas and oil.”

Russia attacked the neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine’s failure 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. French and German diplomats brokered the protocols to ensure that the region was granted special status by the Ukrainian state.

Since then, the Kremlin demanded Ukraine declare itself neutral and vow to never join NATO’s military bloc. Kiev maintains that Russia’s offensive was not provoked and denies claims it planned to seize the two republics.

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