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Hungary to block sanctions against Russia, EU aid for Ukraine unless Kyiv removes OTP bank from list of ‘international war sponsors.’

by The Kyiv Independent news desk May 18, 2023 1:29 AM 2 min read
Hungarian Trade and Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto speaks during an interview in Ankara, Turkiye on May 03, 2023. (Photo by Omer Taha Cetin/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
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Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said that his country won’t support the 11th sanctions package against Russia and the 500 million euro military support tranche for Ukraine unless Kyiv removes the Hungarian bank from the blacklist.

On May 4, Ukraine’s National Corruption Prevention Agency designated Hungary’s OTP Bank an “international sponsor of war” due to the bank’s decision to continue operating in Russia and adherence to a credit law directly referring to the proxy regimes in Russian-occupied Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts.

OTP Bank is one of the 50 largest banks in Russia, serving more than 2.2 million customers.

The bank provides “preferential lending conditions to (members of) the Russian military,” including the opportunity to defer payments on loans, the National Corruption Prevention Agency wrote.

On May 15, Szijjarto said that “OTP has not violated any international laws. Its operations fully comply with all kinds of expectations and legislation.” “Placing it on the list of international sponsors of war is unacceptable and scandalous,” he added.

A senior EU official said that the EU will discuss this issue on May 22 in Brussels, CNN reported.

“We’re going to talk to the Ukrainian side. We’ll talk to the Member States, talk to Hungary, of course,” the official said.

Reuters: Hungary withholds approval of military support tranche for Ukraine
Hungary has decided not to approve the disbursement of the next tranche of military support for Ukraine provided under the European Peace Facility (EPF) of the European Union, Reuters reported, citing an announcement from the Hungarian government spokesperson’s office on May 16.
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