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Hungary threatens to veto new EU sanction package on Russia

by Nate Ostiller and The Kyiv Independent news desk October 28, 2023 7:55 PM 2 min read
Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto arrives in Moscow, Russia, on Oct. 12, 2023. (Peter Szijjarto / Facebook). 
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Hungary will veto the European Union's proposed 12th sanctions package if it includes the gas, oil, and nuclear energy sectors of the Russian economy, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said on Oct. 28 in an interview with Russian state-run media Ria Novosti.

"I can tell you for sure: if the next package contains something that contradicts our national interests, we will definitely not agree to its adoption," Szijjarto said, referring to the above-mentioned sectors as a "red line."

Russia has done nothing bad to Hungary, he said, adding that Russia actually saved the lives of Hungarians by providing access to vaccines.

The 12th sanctions package was announced on Oct. 27, aimed at further restricting Russia's ability to circumvent previous sanctions, as well as introducing new restrictions on Russia's diamond exports. It would require a unanimous decision to pass.

Hungary has consistently opposed sanctions on Russia and maintained close relations with the country since the full-scale invasion.

Szijjarto said on Sept. 22 that sanctions "cause more harm to Europe than to Russia" and are "not necessary."

Hungary has nonetheless eventually voted for the previous of 11 sanctions packages, but only after extracting some concessions or exceptions.

In addition to regularly giving interviews to Russian state-run media, Szijjarto has also visited Russia five times and Belarus twice since the beginning of the full-scale invasion.

Hungary has also delayed the ratification of new members Finland and Sweden into NATO. Hungary finally ratified Finland's accession to the alliance nine months after the original application.

Even after the other remaining holdout, Turkey, agreed to move forward with Sweden's accession on Oct. 23, Szijjarto said, "This changes nothing on our side."

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban previously said in September that Hungary was in no rush to ratify Sweden's membership.

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In early June, a bizarre and mysterious joint operation was carried out between two of Ukraine’s neighbors, one to the east and one to the west. Eleven Ukrainian soldiers, after having been held in Russian captivity for an unknown amount of time, were moved from Russia to Hungary. Although

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