Hungary ‘cannot support’ EU’s new sanctions against Russia in current form: FM

Hungary ‘cannot support’ EU’s new sanctions against Russia in current form: FM

Budapest, May 5 (IANS) Hungary’s government cannot responsibly support the European Commission’s new package of sanctions against Russia in its current form as it would “destroy” the country’s security of energy supply, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjarto has said.

The European Union (EU) will phase out Russian crude oil imports within six months and refined products by the end of the year, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said on Wednesday, announcing the sixth package of sanctions against Russia, Xinhua news agency reported.

The new restrictions would involve a ban on crude oil shipments from Russia to Europe with a rather short notice, which in Hungary’s case would apply from the end of next year,” Szijjarto said in a video message posted on his Facebook page.

Hungary’s energy supply is currently secure and stable, but this package of sanctions would “completely destroy” it, making it impossible for the country to procure the amount of oil needed to keep the economy running, he said.

“This is not a question of a lack of political will, not a matter of intent, not a question of timeframe, but quite simply a physical, geographical and infrastructural reality,” Szijjarto said.

He recalled that Hungary was a landlocked country without access to the sea and to large tankers transporting crude oil from places other than Russia.

Furthermore, Hungary’s refineries can only process Russian Urals crude but not other products such as Brent. The only way oil gets to Hungary is through pipelines.

“The government cannot responsibly vote for the latest sanctions package in its current form,” Szijjarto said, adding that in order for the Hungarian government to support the measures, oil shipments via pipeline would have to be exempted from the embargo.

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