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EU ‘shot itself in foot’ as anti-Russia sanctions ‘backfired’: Hungarian PM

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban is seen in Budapest, April 3, 2022. (File photo by Reuters)

Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban has censured the European Union’s sanctions against Russia over the conflict in Ukraine, saying the bloc “shot itself in the foot” by the imposition of such restrictive measures and caused a surge in energy prices across the continent.

Speaking in an address to the Hungarian parliament on Monday, Orban called for a ceasefire to end the war. He said the sanctions had “backfired” and were dealing a blow to Europe's economy.

“We can safely say that as a result of the sanctions, European people have become poorer, while Russia has not fallen to its knees,” the prime minister said, adding, “This weapon has backfired, with the sanctions Europe has shot itself in the foot.”

“We are waiting for an answer, the entire Europe is waiting for an answer from Brussels on how long we will keep doing this,” he said, adding that it was also time to discuss the sanctions with the United States.

Europe has been grappling with a severe energy crisis since the start of Russia's military operation in Ukraine in February. The United States and a number of the EU member states have imposed draconian sanctions against Moscow in the wake of the war.

Russia launched the campaign on February 24, saying it was aimed at “demilitarizing” the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbas, which is made up of the Donetsk and Lugansk republics.

In the past two months, the Pentagon has announced two military packages for Kiev worth $550 million and $1 billion. They include HIMARS ammunition, artillery ammunition, Javelin missiles, and other anti-armor weapons.

Moscow has been critical of weapons supplies to Kiev by Washington and its Western allies, warning it will only prolong the conflict and increase the risk of a direct confrontation between NATO and Russia.

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