European Union member states have agreed on new sanctions against Russia, and the European Commission will finalize the package of restrictive measures in consultation with its partners as soon as possible, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said late Tuesday afternoon. The punitive measures are to come into force as early as today, Wednesday. Hungary also voted in favor of the sanctions.
This article was originally published on our sister-site, Ungarn Heute.
“Our action today is a response to Russia’s aggressive behavior,” stressed Ursula von der Leyen at a press conference in the early evening on Tuesday. The Commission President added: “If the Kremlin continues to escalate this crisis, we will not hesitate to take further measures.” According to von der Leyen, Russia provoked the crisis and Moscow is solely responsible for the current situation. The EU sanctions package is a clear response to Russia’s violation of international law.
The sanctions directly target individuals and companies involved in these actions. They target banks that financed the Russian military apparatus and constitute or contribute to the destabilization of Ukraine.”
said the Commission President.
Numerous individuals involved in the “illegal decision” to recognize the separatist areas by Russian President Vladimir Putin will also be sanctioned, the EU document says. Among them would be some 350 members of the Russian parliament who voted for the recognition of the self-proclaimed “people’s republics” of Luhansk and Donetsk in eastern Ukraine, but also banks that do business in eastern Ukraine or finance “Russia’s military and other operations” in eastern Ukraine.
Individuals, organizations, and companies could also have all their assets in the EU frozen. In addition, listed persons would no longer be allowed to enter the EU and no business may be conducted with the persons concerned.
Earlier, The Guardian wrote in an article that Hungary was the only member state that had not immediately pledged its full support for the list of people to be subject to travel bans and asset seizures at a meeting of EU ambassadors on Tuesday morning. However, European Council President Charles Michel had received the support of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán in private, and unanimity on the whole package was eventually reached.
Later, several high-ranking government officials stressed that there was “fake news” about Hungary’s position in both Western and Eastern media. Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó emphasized in a video published on his Facebook page:
Hungary’s position is clear: we support the territorial integrity of Ukraine and will not break the unity of Europe, as we never have.
The minister added: “The Western media is no better than the Eastern media. False news was published about Hungary’s position. Hungary is part of the united European response. Just as we did not veto the issue of sanctions against the East in the past, we will not veto it now.” Szijjártó also spoke about the fact that although the situation is escalating, Hungary continues to rely on diplomacy. He added that a lot has been done for Hungarian-Russian relations in recent years, i.e., for “maintaining civilized cooperation with Moscow despite the extremely unfavorable global and regional developments,” but in the current situation, no one can predict how European-Russian relations will develop in the future. “I hope that not all doors will be closed,” said Szijjártó.
Government Spokesman Zoltán Kovács: Reports of Patrick Wintour, diplomatic columnist of the British left-wing daily newspaper The Guardian are “Fake News”
In a tweet, the politician denied that Hungary would veto a joint EU resolution on Ukraine. In his microblog, the government spokesman stressed that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán had already stated that Hungary was part of the common EU position and that there was an ongoing intensive high-level dialogue between Budapest and Brussels.
Featured photo via PM Orbán’s Facebook page