The European Union should focus on peacemaking in Ukraine instead of sanctions that lead to nowhere and arms supplies worth hundreds of millions of euros, the Hungarian foreign minister said in Brussels on Monday.
The ministry said that Péter Szijjártó told a press conference during the break of an EU foreign affairs council meeting that the European Commission was already preparing a tenth package of sanctions against Russia and it was in an advanced state, supported by the majority of member states.
Ukraine’s foreign minister who joined the meeting via a video link called for sanctions against the Russian nuclear sector and the proposal enjoyed some support within the EU, he added.
“We Hungarians basically dispute the usefulness of sanctions. If the original purpose of the sanctions was to stop the war then the past almost one year has proven that this effort was unsuccessful. The sanctions have taken the European Union to a dead-end and they cause more damage to us than to the Russians,” he said.
Nuclear energy is essential for Hungary’s energy supplies, with the blocks in Paks securing a third of the country’s electricity consumption, he said. A contract was signed about the plant’s expansion nice years ago, he added.
Experience from recent months showed that only those countries are safe from the point of energy supplies that can produce a significant part of their domestic energy demands for themselves, he said.
“It is completely evident and will not surprise anyone that Hungary refuses to support any measure that would restrict nuclear cooperation with Russia in any way,” he added.
“There is no compromise when it comes to national energy supplies,” the foreign minister said.
Answering a question, he said that press reports suggesting that Szijjártó said that
the Hungarian government does not think it is a good idea to increase arms transfers, but they will not prevent the implementation of the European Union’s decision on this issue.
Hungary was planning to veto the EU financing of arms supplies to Ukraine were lies, minister said.
He added that continual consultations were under way about the sanctions imposed against Russia. It is important for Europe’s credibility that those should not be included in the sanctions lists if there are no legal or other reasons for this.