“We have entered a new dimension of risk of war in Ukraine, which is why we need to take tougher and clearer steps to ensure peace and security in Hungary, which is in our national interest,” Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said in Brussels after a meeting of the EU’s foreign ministers.
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“An agreement regarding possible EU sanctions against Russian energy supplies or their interruption will most likely not be reached,” the minister said after negotiating with his European counterparts in Brussels.
We will not support sanctions that could pose a risk to energy supplies for Hungary,”
the Foreign Minister said.
The idea of imposing sanctions on energy supplies from Russia to Europe was revived. A “clearly defined group” of member states clearly holds this position, while the rest of the member states are less proactive but supportive, Szijjártó said. However, some member states, including Hungary, view sanctions against energy supplies as a red line.
The foreign minister urged his European counterparts not to make proposals to limit or cut off energy supplies from Russia in the future, as “such a decision would not lead to Europe’s unification.”
Some countries depend on Russian energy supplies. We don’t do this out of fun. Energy supply is not a philosophical or ideological issue, but a physical, mathematical one.
Ground mission in Ukraine?
Speaking about security issues, Péter Szijjártó said that a new dimension of risks could be in question.
Proposals to establish a no-fly zone over Ukraine are gaining momentum. Other member states are increasingly proposing a ground mission, which they call a “peacekeeping mission.”
The Foreign Minister made it clear that maintaining a no-fly zone would mean an air war, and sending troops to Ukraine as peacekeepers would also risk war.
We must avoid that. Hungary’s interest is clear: Hungary wants to stay out of this war, we will stick to NATO’s common position and reject proposals that risk either an air war or an extended war on the ground.”
Szijjártó said everything must be done to ensure that NATO does not become a combatant party and that war does not extend beyond Ukraine’s borders.
“The Hungarian government is contributing to doubling the budget of the European Peace Facility, and arms supplies from EU member states are not blocked, but Hungary does not supply weapons to Ukraine, and lethal weapons must not cross the country,” the minister reiterated.
In regard to refugees, Szijjártó said that while many recognize the efforts of Hungary and Poland, it is precisely these two countries that are deprived of EU funds.
The EU and its Western allies have so far imposed significant sanctions on Russia and Belarus, including the exclusion of several Russian banks from the SWIFT system, the isolation of these countries from the world financial system and trade, and the sanctioning of many Russian and Belarusian citizens, reports Euractiv. Economically, the most difficult decision this week will be whether to target Russian oil, as the U.S. and U.K. have done.
featured image via Zoltán Máthé/MTI