Ukraine slams EU member over Russian gas — Analysis

Budapest is on the wrong side of history by helping fund “Russia’s military machine,” Kiev has said

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has again lashed out at Hungary, saying it views its neighbor’s eagerness to accept Russia’s demand for gas payments to be made in rubles as an “unfriendly position.” Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the switch to gas payments in rubles after Ukraine’s Western backers imposed harsh sanctions against the country.

According to the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, Moscow wants to be paid in national currency for gas, in order to preserve its economy and continue the military operations against Kiev.

“In this context, we consider the statement of [Hungary’s] readiness to pay for Russian gas in rubles as an unfriendly position towards our state,”It was.

Budapest’s stance goes against the position of the EU, which “refused to satisfy Russia’s whim in principle,” and rejected the idea of ruble payments, the ministry added.

EU nation says it’s ready to pay rubles for Russian gas

Kiev asked the Hungarian authorities for assistance “stop destroying unity in the EU, support new anti-Russian sanctions, provide military assistance to Ukraine, and not create additional sources of funding for Russia’s military machine.”

Viktor Orban (Hungarian Prime Minister) was reelected for his fourth term. He said Wednesday that he would not have any problem switching to rubles to pay gas bills. He reiterated his strong opposition to the current discussion in Brussels about any sanctions against Russia on oil and natural gas imports. According to Orban, it is a ‘red-line’ for Hungary, where 85% of households rely on Russian energy.

Kiev has been increasingly vocal about its dissatisfaction with Budapest’s reaction to the Ukrainian conflict. Hungary, which arguably has the closest ties with Moscow among the EU member states, has condemned Russia’s military operation and provided humanitarian aid to Ukraine, but refused to send weapons and rejected the idea of restrictions on Russian gas, oil, and coal.

On Wednesday, Kiev’s ambassador to Hungary, Lyubov Nepop, was summoned to the Hungarian Foreign Ministry to explain the words of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who claimed that Orban fears Russia and warned that Budapest would eventually be forced to choose between Moscow and the “other world.”

Peter Szijjarto, Hungary’s Foreign Minister, responded to the claim by stating that it was “time for Ukrainian leaders to stop their insults directed at Hungary.”

Ukrainian ambassador summoned over insults

Tensions have been running high between the two neighbors in recent weeks, with Hungary accusing Ukraine of election meddling in an attempt to propel the opposition to power during Sunday’s vote. Some Kiev officials suggested that Budapest could be looking to use the fighting in Ukraine to claim the country’s western Zakarpattia Region, populated by Hungarians, for itself.

Russia launched a large-scale offensive against Ukraine in late February, following Kiev’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements signed in 2014, and Russia’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. Minsk Protocol, which was negotiated by France and Germany, was intended to regulate the state of regions in the Ukrainian country.

Russia demanded Ukraine be declared neutral by Washington and refuse to join NATO’s military bloc. Kiev maintains that Russia’s offensive was not provoked and denies claims it planned to take the rebel territories by force.

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