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Media: Hungary again blocks Ukraine aid over OTP Bank

by Martin Fornusek and The Kyiv Independent news desk October 23, 2023 10:16 PM 2 min read
A logo sits on display outside a branch of the OTP Bank Nyrt. in Budapest, Hungary, on May 15, 2013. (Akos Stiller/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
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EU foreign ministers have again failed to agree on the 500 million euros ($530 million) in military aid for Ukraine, as Hungary seeks assurances on the removal of its OTP Bank from Kyiv's international sponsors of war list, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's correspondent Rikard Jozwiak reported on Oct. 23.

The European bloc's chief diplomat, Josep Borrell, confirmed that the ministerial negotiations in Luxembourg did not bring an agreement on the eight military assistance tranche, but he did not elaborate on the reasons.

"We have not yet managed to solve the problem of the eighth tranche of the European Peace Fund. We are still looking for a solution to this issue, but one way or another, we will find it," Borrell said.

Ukraine's National Agency on Corruption Prevention provisionally removed OTP and five Greek shipping companies from the list in the hope that this would "lead to Hungary's unblocking of 500 million euros of vital EU military aid for the Ukrainian people, and will also eliminate the possibility of Greece blocking the future EU sanctions package" against Russia.

While Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto called this decision a "step in the right direction," Budapest seeks guarantees that the bank will not later return to the blacklist.

The move to "temporarily suspend" the inclusion of OTP Bank and the shipping companies was made following negotiations between the agency, national governments, and representatives of the companies, according to the agency.

Hungary issues more demands following suspension of OTP Bank from ‘international sponsors of war’ list
Hungary “still needs guarantees,” that the Hungarian OTP bank will not be reinstated to Ukraine’s international sponsors of war list, Foreign Affairs Minister Peter Szijjarto said on Oct. 4.
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