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PM Orban: Hungary to veto EU sanctions on Russia's nuclear energy

by The Kyiv Independent news desk January 27, 2023 1:42 PM 1 min read
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban speaks at a joint press conference with Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer upon Orban's official visit on July 28, 2022, in Vienna, Austria. (Michael Gruber/Getty Images)
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Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban told state radio that Budapest would veto any European Union sanctions against Russia related to nuclear energy, Reuters reported on Jan. 27. "We will not allow the plan to include nuclear energy into the sanctions to be implemented," Orban said. "This is out of the question."

Ukraine earlier called on the EU to impose sanctions on Russia's nuclear industry, specifically the state nuclear operator Rosatom, in its next package of measures against the country. According to Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, Rosatom earns about $9 billion every year from the sale of raw uranium, its enrichment services, and the construction of nuclear power plants.

Hungary has a Russian-built nuclear plant generating almost half of the country's power, which it plans to expand. In 2014, Budapest signed a contract with Rosatom to construct two additional reactors for the Paks Nuclear Power Plant in central Hungary.

The Hungarian government has repeatedly criticized the EU sanctions against Russia over its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, saying that they failed to significantly weaken Russia but allegedly are destroying the European economy instead.

Polish RMF FM reported on Jan. 19, citing a high-ranking EU diplomatic source, that Budapest had blocked half a billion euros worth of military aid in the seventh such package allocated to Ukraine as part of the European Peace Facility.

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 the country's insufficient reforms.

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