More than 150 thousand Hungarians live in Transcarpathia, the westernmost region of Ukraine. After the Russian invasion began, many left the country, but most returned because agricultural work started. Of course, the war’s consequences affect them severely. One of these is the fuel shortage in Transcarpathia, for which many filling stations plan to introduce a Soviet-type “card system” to reduce consumption.
According to Világgazdaság, small fuel stations closed, but big chains still have supplies. György Dunda, the media outlet’s correspondent from Ungvár (Uzshorod), said the fuel shortage was worsening. Consumers already face restrictions since they can buy only 10-20 litres of gasoline. But authorities would like to reduce consumption by reintroducing the Soviet “card system”.
There are multiple reasons behind the fuel shortage. First, the Russians are attacking oil refineries and stores. Furthermore, the oil supply from Belarus and Russia has stopped, and the ports are under blockade. Therefore, supply comes only from Western Europe on trucks. However, that amount does not satisfy demand.
Meanwhile, agricultural work started in the fields and created extra demand. On top of that, prices are skyrocketing. Even though the government suspended tax and VAT on fuel, it is 30-40 pc more expensive than before the war. If the government ends the suspension, prices will multiply, affecting all sectors.
Moreover, the government would like to increase the war tax from 1.5 pc to 3 pc. Introduced in 2014, the new tax is paid by the employers. Despite the extra money, the military equipment gives ground for harsh criticism.
Volunteers are collecting aid continuously and sending food, clothes, night-vision goggles, bulletproof vests, and other non-lethal equipment to the front. Ukraine is short of weapons, so Kyiv keeps asking for them from the West. The number of internally displaced people keeps growing. Millions of Eastern Ukraine residents live in the safer western parts of the country. The number of such refugees stands at 400 thousand just in Transcarpathia where around 150 thousand Hungarians live.
Olena Suljak, the deputy leader of the parliamentary group of Zelenskiy’s party, said that everybody would get a place to live after the war. He added that people would not be forced to return to the East. Therefore, many might remain in Transcarpathia. Authorities talk about 600 thousand new homes needed in Western Ukraine. However, nobody talks about the financial sources behind the plan. GDP reduction can reach 40 pc in 2022, so a home building program will probably rest on Western support. Kyiv already received five billion dollars to be able to continue the war and pay social expenditures. People think that the West owes Ukraine, so they deserve the money they get from western countries.
On April 28, KárpátHír reported that the reason for the fuel shortage was logistics. Authorities keep monitoring the stores, and Transcarpathia has enough reserves. Vasil Ivanco, deputy president of the Transcarpathian military district, said that EU fuel transports would come to Ukraine a couple of months later.
Featured image: illustration
Source: Világgazdaság, KárpátHír