Hungary is pressuring the EU to remove sanctions from nine people, including businessmen and oligarchs close to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported, citing anonymous diplomatic sources.
They include billionaires Viktor Rashnikov, Alisher Usmanov, Petr Aven, Grygory Berezkin, and Viatcheslav Kantor, most of whom reportedly have close ties with Putin. Other people on the list include some of their family members and associates.
The sanctions list requires unanimous approval by all EU member states by its renewal deadline on March 15. The EU sanctioned over 1,300 individuals and 170 entities as a result of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has been critical of the EU's sanctions on Moscow and has previously tried to lift sanctions on people from the list.
In December, Hungary also held up the EU's 18 billion macro-financial assistance package to Ukraine. Media reports alleged that the EU saw it as Budapest's attempt to force the EU to release aid to Hungary, which had been frozen due to insufficient reforms.