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Financial Times: Hungary blocking new EU sanctions package against Russia

by Dinara Khalilova and The Kyiv Independent news desk February 15, 2024 4:23 PM 2 min read
A European Union (EU) flag next to the European Commission building in Brussels, Belgium, on Nov. 10, 2023. (Simon Wohlfahrt/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
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Hungary has blocked the approval of the European Union's latest package of sanctions against Russia due to the presence of Chinese companies in the list, the Financial Times (FT) reported on Feb. 15, citing unnamed European officials.

The European Commission aims to have the 13th sanctions package in place to mark the second anniversary of the full-scale invasion on Feb. 24.

The package includes restrictions against almost 200 people and companies from Russia, China, and other countries helping Moscow's war effort, according to the FT.

EU ambassadors gathered on Feb. 14 to discuss the sanctions package, where ​​Hungary became the only skeptic on the issue, sources told the FT. "The Hungarians did not agree due to Chinese companies," one of the officials said.

Hungary has consistently opposed sanctions on Russia and maintained close relations with Moscow since the full-scale invasion. Budapest has nonetheless eventually voted for the previous 12 sanctions packages, but only after extracting some concessions or exceptions.

Another official familiar with the EU discussion described it as "a very fruitful exchange," telling the FT that Budapest was "request(ing) a bit more time to analyze the content of the proposals."

The 12th sanctions package reportedly targets three Chinese companies and one in India, among other entities. If approved, it would be the first time that businesses in mainland China and India have been subjected to EU sanctions, according to the FT.

The officials said the EU would continue talks on the sanctions package, which will likely be considered at meetings of EU ministers next week.

Supporters of the package hope to have an agreement by Feb. 21 to meet the war’s anniversary deadline, the media outlet added.

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