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Report: Hungary's Orban aims to stop extension of EU's anti-Russia sanctions

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban speaks as he and Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer (not pictured) hold a joint press conference upon Orban's official visit, July 28, 2022, in Vienna, Austria. (Getty Images)

Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban has planned to break a consensus among European Union leaders to extend anti-Russia sanctions.

Western European countries, led by the United States, slapped a slew of economic sanctions on Russia over the conflict in Ukraine.

However, Hungary's Orban, a right-wing nationalist, is against the sanctions, saying the US-led effort was causing harm to European nations.

He described the sanctions as a self-defeating blow to EU.

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Meanwhile, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported that Orban aimed to stop an extension of the sanctions in an upcoming meeting of EU leaders scheduled in the autumn.

Orban voiced his intention to stop another six-month extension of EU's anti-Russia sanctions at an annual gathering of party members in the western village of Kotcse last week, RFE/RL reported on its Hungarian website on Friday citing unidentified sources.

However, RFE/RL reported that the populist leader told the party-members at the gathering that the prospects of blocking the extension of anti-Russia sanctions were slim.

In July, Orban said the EU had shot itself in the lungs with ill-considered economic sanctions on Russia, which, unless rolled back, risked destroying the European economy.

"Initially, I thought we had only shot ourselves in the foot, but now it is clear that the European economy has shot itself in the lungs, and it is gasping for air," Orban said in an interview with a local public radio.

In the interview, Orban insisted that EU leaders should reconsider their strategy, as sanctions have caused widespread harm to the European economy without weakening Russia or helping resolve the months-long conflict.

"The sanctions do not help Ukraine, however, they are bad for the European economy and if it goes on like this, they will kill off the European economy," Orban further insisted. "What we see right now is unbearable."

"The moment of truth must come in Brussels, when leaders admit they have made a miscalculation; that the sanctions policy was based on wrong assumptions and it must be changed," argued the anti-EU Orban.

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