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Hungary: Fresh oil, gas sanctions on Russia ‘clear red line’

Hungary's Minister for External Economy and Foreign Affairs Peter Szijjarto gestures during a General Affairs meeting in Luxembourg on June 22, 2021. (File photo by Reuters)

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto says his country opposes any new sanctions against Moscow, especially in the energy sector, and deems such bans as “a clear red line.”

Szijjarto made the remarks after meeting with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, on Friday.

“Our position is very clear. We see no reasonable reasons to discuss a new package of sanctions, especially when it comes to energy,” he said.

He added that “this is a clear red line for us. We do not want the Hungarian people to pay a price for a war they have nothing to do with,” referring to the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

Szijjarto also emphasized that he opposes any decision that is against the national interests of his country and will not go along with it.

Responding to criticisms leveled against him due to his talks with Lavrov, the Hungarian foreign minister said peace will never be achieved without negotiations, and if negotiations do not take place, the world may face more serious consequences.

He warned that the European economy is moving toward stagnation and in recent months Europe has faced a serious crisis in the field of energy, which is the result of the sanctions imposed by the European Union against Russia in the oil and gas sector.

Hungary is deeply dependent on Russia for natural gas. It imports about 80 percent of its gas needs through Russian energy giant Gazprom. While Russia has cut gas supplies to some European countries in recent months, Hungary has signed contracts with Moscow to supply more gas.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Wednesday that the EU had taken a “political” decision to impose further sanctions against Moscow, following Russia’s support for holding referendums in the two Donbas republics and Russian-controlled Zaporozhye and Kherson Regions on joining Russia.

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